M A I N   N E W S

RAW tailed Naval officer in Russia
Girja Shankar Kaura
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, August 3
After being in the denial mode for days, the Navy today admitted that it had imposed restrictions on the movement of three top officials, including the Director of Naval Operations for the recent theft of classified documents from the war room.

Even as reports emerged that the Director of Naval Operations had even been tailed in Moscow by the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) operatives for the possible suspicious movements, the Navy said the three men including two Commanders, would remain under restrictions until the four-member Board of Inquiry completes its investigations.

Sources in the Navy said the Director of Naval Operations had accompanied some of the higher ranked Navy officials to Moscow recently and his movements had come under the scanner of the RAW. The intelligence agency had kept a complete watch on the naval officer after his initial suspicious movements and had also despatched a report back home.

Navy officials here refused to confirm the reports but said one of the top officers in the dock over the theft had visited Russia and some other countries recently, but not Pakistan.

It further said that the officers, all of the rank of Captains and above, had been asked to remain in the capital to depose before the Board of Inquiry, which has been asked to complete its investigations within 10 days.

The Navy, however, continued to deny that any “secret or operational plan of movement of warships and submarines” had been stolen from the war room but there was no explanation forthcoming as to what the commercials plans were doing in the war room.

The Navy said there was no unauthorised download of sensitive matter in Navys war room in South Block and that the inquiry would clear all misgivings on the removal of classified documents from the Naval headquarters.

The issue is likely to figure in Parliament next week, when the Rajya Sabha would take up for discussion the new framework agreement concluded with the United States on defence cooperation.

Naval officials have admitted that “certain procedural lapses in handling of the information stored in computers in the war room had come to light.” Vice-Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Deputy Chief of the Naval staff, has said there was reason to believe that the downloaded information may have been sought by “unauthorised persons outside the Naval Headquarters”.

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