Moscow: A Russian nuclear submarine, in which 20 people were accidentally killed during a sea trial in 2008, will be leased to India in November, a Russian defence industry source said Tuesday.
The delivery will make India only the sixth to operate nuclear-powered submarines after France, China, Russia, Britain and the US.
The Nerpa was to have been leased in 2008 but the transfer was put on hold after a fatal mishap three years ago, when a freon gas fire suppressant system was accidentally set off. The $650 million lease contract was signed in 2004.
The source said all the defects "will have been eliminated before November, after which the Nerpa will be transferred to Delhi".
In late September, a jury dropped negligence charges against the Nerpa`s captain Dmitry Lavrentyev and engineer Dmitry Grobov. They were charged with professional negligence resulting in death or injury for allegedly setting off the sub`s fire safety system "without authorization and for no reason". The Nerpa had 208 people aboard.
Seventeen of the dead were civilians, killed when fire-suppressant freon gas was released during sea trials in the Sea of Japan in November 2008.
Another 21 people were injured, in Russia`s worst naval accident since the sinking of the Kursk nuclear submarine in 2000.