Commodore Sukhjinder Singh, who courted infamy when his illicit affair with a Russian woman during his posting in her country was reported by DNA, has put in his papers. But his resignation is yet to be accepted.
“Most probably the officer will be allowed to go as nothing pertaining to national security has been found against him,” a naval source told DNA. “Court martial is ruled out. Procedural delays might hit his exit.”
A recently-concluded inquiry by naval headquarters found that Singh had no role in influencing the price negotiations of the 45,000-tonne Admiral Gorshkov. Singh was overseeing the refitting of the Russian aircraft carrier between 2005-2007 and upon his return to India was connected with the project as principal director till 2009. There was a doubt that he was “honey-trapped” to disclose India’s negotiating position on the ship. While the inquiry established ‘amorous relationship’, the allegation of honey trap could not be confirmed.
New Delhi and Moscow had been entangled in a long-drawn negotiation process over the price of the ship’s refit and repair, with the stalemate ending earlier this year with a $2.3-bn agreement. The deal was re-inked after rounds of negotiations over cost escalation.
The findings of the inquiry will have to be acted upon by chief of naval staff Admiral Nirmal Verma, who also has to see through the resignation of Singh.