Thu May 20 2010, 20:00 hrs
In a major breakthrough in the Naval war room leak case, one of the main accused Ravi Shankaran, a close relative of the then Naval Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, was arrested in London.
"He has been arrested by the police in London and is at present out on bail. We have moved papers for his extradition," CBI Director Ashwani Kumar said. 46-year old Shankaran, against whom an Interpol Red Corner notice was issued in 2006, is one of the main accused who had allegedly passed on vital information to certain arms dealers for procurement for Indian Navy.
He was declared a proclaimed offender in 2006 with the government revoking his passport and approaching a UK court for his arrest. However, he had managed to give a slip to London Police and was believed to have been roaming in countries like France, Italy and Denmark.
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The naval war room leak, uncovered in 2005, involved alleged illegal trade-off of classified documents relating to defence acquisitions by persons including former Navy and IAF officers for private firms dealing with defence supplies.
Five persons including Shankaran were initially charge-sheeted by the CBI in the case. Shankaran is a relative of the former naval chief, Admiral (Retd.) Arun Prakash. The CBI hailed Shankaran’s arrest as a major breakthrough. The CBI’s investigations a few years ago had showed that defence leaks had taken place including details of a top secret naval project titled the Network Centric Operation (NCO).
“This crucial information can give an enemy country an advantage of knowing what are the command networks, network topography, pattern of data flow from command centres (both onshore and offshore) to battleships and topography of the computer network on the battlefield itself. With this information, an enemy power can use information warfare to block data flow (flow of orders) from command centres to warships/submarines at crucial moments or cause wrong orders to be communicated, by interfering with the network data flow by way of launching hacking attacks ," the CBI had stated in its chargesheet submitted in 2006 before a special court.
The CBI had estimated that the information leaked could be worth billions of dollars in a commercial transaction
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