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Speedy probe against officer handling Gorshkov project

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 18:57

New Delhi: Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma has asked for expediting the inquiry against Commodore Sukhjinder Singh, who is facing allegations of "loose moral conduct" during his posting in Russia to oversee the refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, officials said Tuesday.
"The chief wants the board of inquiry to be completed soon. And we expect it would be over in a day or two," a Navy official said to a news agency.

"There is a possibility that Singh could be asked to put in his papers or proceed on leave. He is presently posted in the Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) here and attending office regularly," the officer added.

The navy chief has already briefed Defence Minister AK Antony about the developments.

A board of inquiry headed by a vice admiral was ordered a week ago after some "objectionable" photographs involving Singh and a Russian woman surfaced.

According to the official, Singh`s role is being probed to ascertain if his proximity to some Russians was in any way linked to the problems associated with the Gorshkov project, including the cost escalation and the delay in the ship`s delivery.

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

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

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

Citing additional costs for the refit, Moscow had jacked up the price to $2.9 billion, while New Delhi wanted this to be scaled back to $2.1 billion. The revised price was decided on during Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin`s visit to New Delhi last month.


First Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010 - 18:57
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