Ravi Shankaran, a kin of former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash who is the main accused in the war room leak case, has been spotted in Sweden after slipping out of Britain when an arrest warrant was issued against him by a UK court on the CBI's request.
After trailing him for over four months, the CBI found him in Sweden. This prompted the agency to send an alert to the Swedish wing of Interpol for his immediate detention, official sources said.
Shankaran, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI, has not returned to Britain, from where he fled after the arrest warrant for him was issued by an additional district judge on April 10.
He has been criss-crossing Europe without a valid passport as the external affairs ministry revoked his travel document last year.
As a precautionary measure, the CBI alerted several countries, including the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark and Norway, to detain 43-year-old Shankaran as he could use these nations as a make-shift base to ward off arrest by law enforcing agencies.
CBI officials said they were confident of getting Shankaran extradited to India and termed his "vanishing act" as a temporary phase till the law caught up with him.
Shankaran is wanted by the CBI for allegedly obtaining classified data, including the navy's acquisition plans and other sensitive material, from the war room or directorate of naval operations.
The CBI has earlier sent a request for Shankaran's extradition after Britain's home department routed a message to the CBI through the external affairs ministry that India should formally seek his extradition.
India's request for the provisional arrest of Shankaran was made under Article 12 of its extradition treaty with Britain.
His arrest could help the agency in tying up loose ends and in nailing others involved in the scandal.
The CBI had on September 12 last year attached Shankaran's property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before the agency for questioning. This included his office Shanks Oceanographic Pvt Ltd in Goa and accounts with HSBC Bank of a firm called Besix India, which belonged to him.
The agency conducted raids at his residence and offices in April last year after arresting former naval Commander Kulbushan Parashar at Indira Gandhi International Airport here on his arrival from London.
A proclamation notice asking Shankaran to appear before the CBI for questioning was published in The Times of London on August 11 last year.
The CBI registered a case on March 20, 2006 against former IAF Wing Commander Sambhaji Rao Surve, Shankaran, ex-naval Commanders Vinod Kumar Jha and Vinod Rana, Raj Rani Jaiswal, Mukesh Bajaj, Wing Commander (retired) SK Kohli, Kashyap Kumar and Parashar.
The case against these nine persons was registered under various sections of the Official Secrets Act and Section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. Barring Jaiswal, Bajaj and Kashyap Kumar, chargesheets have been filed against all the others.
The CBI has prepared documents for closing the case against the trio as nothing could be found against them. The probe, which has been completed, indicated that Kumar was made a scapegoat in the matter though he had nothing to do with the leak of secret information from the war room, a senior CBI official said.
There was no connection whatsoever between Kumar and other defence officials and businessmen linked to the scandal, the official said.