CBI continues pursuit of Naval war room leak accused
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Last Updated: Sunday, October 11, 2009, 15:03
New Delhi: Three years after the naval war room leak case rocked the country, the CBI is still trying to track the alleged kingpin Ravi Shankaran, kin of former Naval chief Arun Prakash.

The agency has so far failed to nab the accused, who is believed to hold the key to many missing links in the scam.

An optimistic CBI Director Ashwani Kumar said, the accused, believed to be holed up somewhere in Europe, would be arrested soon and brought before the law.

For nabbing Shankaran (48), against whom an Interpol Red Corner Notice has been issued, even the revocation of passport has not been of any help as now the agency is of firm opinion that the accused might have attained a different travel document and is living in some country under assumed name.

"We are investigating the case. We have already filed the report and the challan. He (Shankaran) is wanted in that case. We have sent Letters Rogatory (LR) to some countries. We are calling him (for interrogation) from the day one but he is not coming. Interpol notice is already issued on his name," the CBI Director told a news agency.

Sources said there was growing apprehension that Shankaran could have slipped out of Britain after an arrest warrant was issued against him by a UK court on the CBI's request in April 2006.

The sources said Shankaran had been frequenting nearby countries including Sweden, France and Belgium, prompting the investigating agency to send requests to all of them for his detention.

Shankaran, whose passport was revoked in April 2006, has been chargesheeted by the CBI for allegedly obtaining classified data, including the navy's acquisition plans and other sensitive material, from the Directorate of Naval Operations which is known in military parlance as war room.

Besides these countries, the CBI has sounded an alert to the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway as Shankaran could use these nations as make-shift bases to ward off his arrest, the sources said, adding he could be criss-crossing Europe on a different passport after the External Affairs Ministry revoked his travel document.

The CBI had earlier sent a request for Shankaran's extradition after Britain's Home office routed a message to it through the MEA that India should formally seek his extradition.

The country made a request for the provisional arrest of Shankaran under Article 12 of its extradition treaty with Britain. His arrest could help the agency in tying up loose ends and in nailing others involved in the scandal.

The CBI had on September 12, 2006 attached Shankaran's property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before the agency for questioning. This included his office Shanks Oceanographic Pvt Ltd in Goa and accounts with HSBC Bank of a firm called Besix India, which belonged to him.

The CBI conducted searches at his residence and offices in April 2006 after arresting former naval Commander Kulbushan Parashar at IGI Airport here on his arrival from London.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009, 15:03

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