Navy War room leak: Bail to 2 ex-Naval commanders

Two former Navy Commanders were granted bail by the Delhi High Court on condition that they would not contact co-accused Ravi Shankaran.

New Delhi: Two former Navy Commanders, arrested for their alleged roles in the 2006 Naval war room leak case, were on Friday granted bail by the Delhi High Court on condition that they would not contact co-accused Ravi Shankaran, holed up in London and facing extradition proceedings.

"I have allowed both the petitions (of former naval Commanders Kulbushan Parashar and Vijender Rana) for grant of bail," Justice V K Shali said.

Imposing various conditions, the court said, "They (Rana and Parashar) shall not communicate directly or indirectly to Ravi Shankaran till a decision on his extradition is taken by the British court."

One of the six accused, Shankaran, a relative of former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, who has been declared a proclaimed offender, is currently facing extradition proceedings in the United Kingdom in connection with the case.

The court also asked the two former Navy commanders to furnish a personal bond of Rs 2 lakh with two sureties of like amount each for their release on bail.
The accused will have to surrender their passports, if not already seized by the CBI, to the trial court and will not leave Delhi without prior permission, Justice Shali said.

"They shall attend the trial court proceedings on each date and shall not seek any adjournments," the court said.

Rana and Parashar are in jail since their arrest in April 2006.
Besides them, other accused in the case are sacked Naval Commander V K Jha, former IAF Wing Commander S L Surve, businessman Abhishek Verma and Ravi Shankaran.

The 2006 Navy War Room leak case involves leaking of over
7000 pages of defence information of sensitive nature from the Naval war room and air defence headquarters, having a direct bearing on national security.

The various accused in the case have been charge-sheeted by the CBI for allegedly conspiring to commit offences under the Officials Secret Act.

The CBI earlier had opposed the bail pleas of Rana and Prasahar saying they cannot claim parity with other co-accused, who are out on bail.
"The accused cannot claim parity with those enlarged on bail as there was a distinction between the accused who had access to the secret information and those who passed them on," the CBI had said.

The CBI had filed the first charge sheet on July 3, 2006 against Shankaran and four ex-defence officials in the case.

In its second charge sheet, the agency had indicted city businessman Abhishek Verma for allegedly conspiring to obtain the defence documents.

Verma was handling Indian affairs of Altas group of industries and had received remittances to the tune of Rs 6.5 crore, ostensibly for paying bribes to defence personnel for obtaining information of various purchases to be made by the military, the charge sheet said.

The Atlas group of companies had submitted bids to supply communication equipment required by the armed forces but none of the contracts had been finalised so far, the CBI had said.

The CBI had registered the case on March 20, 2006 on a reference from Defence Ministry and after scrutiny of report on inquiry held by Indian Air Force against Surve and the Board of Inquiry conducted by Indian Navy.

Parashar was arrested at the airport here on April five, 2006 on his return from London following which nationwide searches were carried out at 20 premises of the six accused.


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