The commanding officer of INS Sindhurakshak is likely to be tried by a court martial for alleged lapses that led to the sinking of the Russian-made Kilo-class submarine last year with 18 personnel onboard.
A navy source said the warship’s captain would face disciplinary action for fatal lapses in safety that led to the sinking of the 2,300-tonne fully-armed boat at a Mumbai harbour on August 14, 2013, barely seven months after it had undergone a Rs 815-crore upgrade in Russia.
The punishment could range from loss of seniority, retirement benefits and even dismissal from service.
A probe has found that the accident took place due to a torpedo blowing up in the weapons compartment. “It seems to be a case of mishandling of weapons. The inquiry has ruled out sabotage,” the source said.
The navy had retrieved the submarine two months ago at a cost of Rs 240 crore.
The Sindhurakshak’s CO (a middle-ranking commander) is the latest head to roll for mistakes that caused mishaps and tarnished the navy’s image. At least 25 personnel, including 16 officers, are facing action for lapses that led to accidents under their watch.
Those in the line of fire are linked to mishaps involving aircraft carrier INS Viraat, Russian-built stealth frigate INS Talwar, Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhuratna and patrol boat INS Tarasa. Five officers and a sailor have been blamed for the fire onboard INS Viraat last September. A board of inquiry into the INS Sindhuratna mishap, which led to Admiral DK Joshi’s resignation on February 26, has recommended that three officers, including a commodore, be tried by a court martial.
Four officers and two sailors have been held responsible for the INS Talwar accident — it had slammed into a trawler last December. Also, three officers and four sailors are facing action for a fire onboard INS Tarasa last July.