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5 moles in Navy info leak

LATE ON Wednesday, when a jet-lagged Kulbhushan Parashar, a retired Navy commander, walked out of a London-Delhi flight, he possibly never expected the welcome he got. CBI officers arrested him under the Official Secrets Act ? for selling classified defence documents.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 00:56 IST

LATE ON Wednesday, when a jet-lagged Kulbhushan Parashar, a retired Navy commander, walked out of a London-Delhi flight, he possibly never expected the welcome he got. CBI officers arrested him under the Official Secrets Act — for selling classified defence documents.

Parashar's arrest triggered raids by the CBI at 17 locations in Delhi, Chandigarh, Pune, Mumbai, Goa and Muzaffarpur. By early Thursday, four more persons — two dismissed navy officers; a civilian, Mukesh Bajaj; and a Pune-based woman, Rajrani Jaiswal — had been arrested on similar charges.

The FIR, registered by the CBI three weeks ago, contains names of four more persons, including that of Lt Commander (retd) Ravishankaran, a nephew of Navy Chief Arun Prakash, and Sambhajee L. Surve, a dismissed IAF wing commander.

The arrests relate to the 'navy war room leak' case which first came to light in May last year. The IAF intelligence wing had been monitoring Surve, stationed at IAF headquarters in Delhi, for "several misdemeanors". While going through his computer records, they found files with information on the navy. Investigation revealed the files had originated from the navy's operation room, or "war room". Subsequently, the Intelligence Bureau was informed which, along with the IAF and navy intelligence agencies, began a joint investigation.

Naval officers with access to the 'war room' were tracked for a while before the navy intelligence zeroed in on three people — Commanders Virender Rana and Vinod Kumar Jha and Captain Kashyap Kumar. Rana and Jha have been arrested. The three were subsequently dismissed. So was Surve.

The case was transferred to the CBI last month when allegations mounted that the case was related to the Rs 16,000 crore Scorpene submarine deal.
A CBI officer said Jaiswal, the only woman arrested so far, was allegedly acting like a “honey trap” at the behest of Parashar. She had to get close to officers and draw out information. She was allegedly staying with Surve for a while.
The officer said the Scorpene submarine deal was yet to feature in the investigation.