The Submarine Is Leaking
It was eight months ago that Outlook began a series of exposes on the naval war room leak case. Sensitive, classified information was being smuggled out of the war room and transferred to civilians linked to the global arms trade. As we probed the story, it was revealed that among the civilians involved were navy chief Arun Prakash’s wife’s nephew Ravi Shankaran and his associate Kulbhushan Parashar. Despite being identified as recipients of the leak, the navy chose not to act against either of them—in fact, Shankaran was allowed to flee the country. But it cashiered three naval officers allegedly linked to the leak without a trial. Moreover, intelligence officials investigating the war room leak had chanced upon a trail that led to Shankaran’s associate, friend and arms dealer Abhishek Verma, and eventually to the Rs 18,798-crore Scorpene submarine deal. This was a "wider conspiracy" not only to sell the nation’s secrets, but also influence a deal stuck since 1997. The navy and the defence ministry suppressed this information.
Finally, under pressure, the government handed over the case to the CBI. Now, Parashar has been arrested. Shankaran, who has gone underground in the UK, has had his passport revoked and is a proclaimed offender. Abhishek Verma as well as several naval and defence ministry officers were raided last week. The obvious next step is for the cbi to investigate the Scorpene deal. But would the government want that? The investigators are waiting for a go-ahead....
The Outlook Trail
December 26, 2005 Vanishing Man... Three naval officers dismissed without a trial. Why was the navy chief’s wife’s nephew, Ravi Shankaran, allowed to walk away free?
January 16, 2006, ...And His Footprints Evidence reveals Shankaran has been in touch with navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash and other senior naval officers. Phone records show calls were made from the navy chief’s residence to arms dealer Kulbhushan Parashar.
February 20, 2006, Navy’s Bofors? The government suppressed the naval war room leak since it would blow the cover on middlemen in the Scorpene submarine deal. Abhishek Verma’s links in the deal also stand exposed.
February 27, 2006, ‘We Confirm The Payment Of 4% of Scorpene Contract’ E-mails from French firm Thales to arms dealer Abhishek Verma prove that commissions were paid in the Scorpene deal
April 10, 2006, Will The Sub Sink The Ship? Shankaran concedes in a taped conversation that middlemen were involved in the Scorpene submarine deal. Says he received the e-mails that reveal a fight between two middlemen in the Scorpene deal.
June 26, 2006, The Missing Jigsaw Piece
Ravi Shankaran is declared a proclaimed offender as he
continues to elude the CBI. Scotland Yard tells CBI that Shankaran is untraceable. It’s suspected that he could be in the South of France.