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Naval war room leak accused held in London

In a major catch, Ravi Shankaran, close kin of former Naval Chief Arun Prakash and one of the main accused in the infamous Naval war room leak case, has been arrested in London. The CBI has sought his early extradition. Back story

india Updated: May 21, 2010 12:10 IST

In a major catch, Ravi Shankaran, one of the main accused in the infamous Naval War Room leak case, has been arrested in London and the CBI has sought his early extradition.

46-year-old Shankaran, close kin of former Naval Chief Arun Prakash, was arrested by Metropolitan Police in London on April 21 and the CBI was informed about the same.

The back story

* Shankaran and Parashar, former naval officers, take premature retirement to set up their own business
* They allegedly lure senior naval officers to leak classified information
* The leaked information was to influence the purchase of lucrative defence equipment by the Indian defence establishment

"Shankaran has been arrested and we have moved for his early extradition," CBI Director Ashwini Kumar told PTI today.

A visibly happy Kumar said Shankaran's arrest was a major breakthrough in the case and expressed hope that he would be extradited to India as soon as possible.

CBI officials said once he was deported from the UK, he would be questioned at length about his involvement in the case. It is alleged that he had sent crucial classified information to commercial firms for pecuniary benefits.

The CBI had 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) S K Kohli, Kashyap Kumar and Kulbushan Parashar.

The case against these nine persons was registered under various sections of the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 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 CBI had earlier in 2006 sought arrest of Shankaran after he was spotted in Britain. However, he managed to give slip to the London Police after a UK court issued an arrest warrant against him.

Shankaran, who has been chargesheeted by the CBI in 2006, did not return to Britain after the arrest warrant for him was issued on April 10, 2007.

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 but he managed to give a slip to the sleuths again.

He had been criss-crossing Europe without a valid passport as the External Affairs Ministry revoked his travel document on April one, 2006.

The CBI had on September 12, 2006 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 2006 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, 2006.