CBI continues pursuit of Naval war room leak accused

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Shankaran, whose passport was revoked in April 2006, has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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