Navy officer`s links with Russian woman proved: Govt

Last Updated: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 00:40

New Delhi: Defence Minister AK Antony on Friday said a probe had established Commodore Sukhjinder Singh`s links with a Russian woman during his posting in Russia to oversee the re-fit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

The minister also asked the Indian Navy to speed up the second part of the probe into the affair.

"The Navy has completed one part of its investigation and they have just started the second part. The particular man had some relations with the other side... a lady. That part has been established. Nothing beyond that is proven so far. Let the navy complete the investigation," said Antony on the sidelines of a Unified Commanders conference.

"The Navy is taking special care to speed up the investigation. As soon as the probe is complete, we will take a decision. I do not want to jump to conclusions. I have asked the navy to speed it up," he added.

Commodore Singh is accused of "loose moral conduct" during his posting in Russia to oversee the re-fit of Admiral Gorshkov. A board of inquiry headed by a vice admiral was ordered 10 days ago after "objectionable" photographs involving Singh and a Russian woman surfaced.

The Navy is trying to ascertain his proximity with some Russians and if this was any way linked to the problems associated with the Gorshkov project, including the cost escalation and delay in the ship`s delivery.

Singh was deputed to Russia to supervise re-fitting and other technical requirements of the carrier, which has been renamed INS Vikramaditya. He was stationed there from 2005 to 2007.

India last month cleared the USD 2.35 billion revised price for the carrier.

The warship, originally purchased for USD 1.5 billion, is now undergoing a refit at Russia`s Sevmash shipyard. Of the total cost, USD 974 million was meant for the refit and the balance for a squadron of MiG-29K jets that will be deployed on the vessel.

Citing additional costs for the refit, Moscow jacked up the price to USD 2.9 billion. New Delhi wanted it to be reduced to USD 2.1 billion. The revised price was decided during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin`s visit to New Delhi last month.

IANS



First Published: Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 00:40

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