Home »  News »  India

Navy officer in Gorshkov deal faces sex-scandal inquiry

Monday, 12 April 2010 - 9:08pm IST Updated: Tuesday, 13 April 2010 - 1:06am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna
The Indian Navy ordered the inquiry after 'objectionable' photographs of the commodore and a Russian woman were sent to it by intelligence officers.

The Indian Navy is swiftly moving towards punishing its senior officer Commodore Sukhjinder Singh, who was closely involved in the Admiral Gorshkov deal with Russia. It said a court of inquiry is underway against Singh, who was till a few months ago the principal director in the naval headquarters, looking after the Gorshkov project.

The navy has been investigating Singh’s moral conduct, as reported by DNA on Monday. However, sources within the defence and intelligence establishment are concerned that this process could only help in covering up rather than bringing out the truth behind Singh’s conduct; it may also not aid in identifying if other officials involved in the Gorshkov deal maintained unauthorised contact with Russians.

Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, renamed INS Vikramaditya, saw an unusual hike in its cost from Rs4,870 crore in 2004 to Rs11,650 crore this year. The project was also delayed by about four years. Singh was stationed in Moscow for several years to look after the project and returned to New Delhi to become the principal director and oversee the Gorshkov deal from here. A few months ago, he moved out of the post.

A navy source said Singh was “hand-picked” in 2004 to look after the Gorshkov refit in Russia. He had been a favourite of the naval top brass and was involved in all ministry of defence (MoD) and naval delegation visits to Russia to look into the Gorshkov deal. There is no instance in recent memory of India assenting to revise an agreed defence contract and pay almost three times more, as was the case with Gorshkov. Though it was being justified by the government as because of the complex nature of the contract, many within the navy as well as others expressed outrage about the price hike demand by Russia. Many had informally called for the cancellation of the contract.

A civilian source in the defence establishment suggested that the navy should “draw assistance” from investigation agencies such as the Central Bureau of Investigation to find out if Singh also benefited financially from the deal, and if other officers were also involved. “The navy’s one-man inquiry does not have the capability to go into those facts, including the money trail. The project is of utmost national importance, and you cannot compromise on transparency,” the official told DNA.

Indications are emerging that the navy would conclude its inquiry in a few days. Under the cover of the findings, Singh may be permitted to resign from the navy, a source told DNA. “His silence would be a blessing for many,” the source said.A navy source said Singh was “hand-picked” in 2004 to look after the Gorshkov refit in Russia.

He had been a favourite of the naval top brass and was involved in all ministry of defence (MoD) and naval delegation visits to Russia to look into the Gorshkov deal. There is no instance in recent memory of India assenting to revise an agreed defence contract and pay almost three times more, as was in the case of Gorshkov. Though it was being justified by the MoD and the government as because of the complex nature of the contract, many within the navy as well as others expressed outrage about the price hike demand by Russia. In fact, many had informally called for the cancellation of the contract itself.




Jump to comments