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'War room leak linked to Scorpene deal'

George Fernandes on Saturday said it was time for the Government to break its silence on the "larger conspiracy" behind the Navy War Room Leak case.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2006 03:12 IST

NDA Convenor and former Defence Minister George Fernandes on Saturday said it was time for the Government to break its silence on the "larger conspiracy" behind the Navy war room leak case and accept it was linked to the Scorpene submarine purchase deal.

Reacting to the countrywide raids by the CBI in the Navy war room leak case, the former Defence Minister in a statement said the raids confirm the leak was part of much larger conspiracy impinging on vital aspects of national security. The CBI's action, "though belated," had fully vindicated the firm and consistent stand taken by NDA on the issue.

The CBI raided eight serving Navy and Army officials and a retired naval officer, three bureaucrats in the Defence Ministry and the offices and farm house of Abhishek Verma, the alleged mastermind in the war room leak case at various places in Delhi, Kolkata, Vishakhapatnam and Bhubaneshwar.

Fernandes said although the leak was first detected in May 2005, it was indeed "surprising" that the Government was sleeping for nearly a year before initiating action. "Why no action or arrest was done or action against Abhishek Verma and his associates Kulbhushan Parashar, Ravi Shankaran, a close relative of present Naval Chief Arun Prakash not taken for over 10 months?" he asked.

"This leniency was shown in order to help them destroy evidence of their and their political patrons' involvement in the crime," he said.

He said the Navy had claimed involvement of certain foreigners in the war room leak. The Government had not named them so far nor taken action against them, he regretted.

He said the CBI should conduct the probe in an "even handed manner" unlike the Quattrocchi London bank account.

He said he along with other NDA leaders like LK Advani and Jaswant Singh had raised the issue providing many leads to the involvement of Verma and his alleged links with the Congress party.

"We had charged the UPA Government of mounting a massive cover-up operation in these two cases, but we did not get any satisfactory answer from the Government," he said.

Instigated by his "mentors", Verma filed a defamation suit against Advani. "This shows the petty depths to which Congress' stooped to pursue vengeful politics," he alleged.

It also remains a "mystery" that Verma was allowed to go abroad while arrest warrants were issued against his aides Parashar and Shankaran, he wondered.