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CBI may close case against sacked Navy captain
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi | June 03, 2007 15:40 IST
The conclusion by CBI runs contrary to claims by the Navy in 2005 that Kumar allegedly had a role to play in the leak of important documents. The sources said an extensive probe in the case so far had not been able to establish that the sacked Captain was involved in pilfering of vital information from the Navy's War room.
The CBI's conclusion could put the Navy in a bind since it dismissed Kumar from service in October 2005 under the rarely used president's "pleasure doctrine" without making him face a court-martial. The CBI said it examined all the files and questioned some of the Navy officers regarding the role of the sacked captain but failed to get any "convincing answers" except for a routine answer that Kumar stood dismissed under Section 15 of the Indian Navy Act, an action, which has already been challenged in the Delhi High Court.
The sources said while some procedural lapses could have been made by Captain Kumar but the fact that he was not the senior-most officer in the War Room, lesser charges could have been pressed against him.
The agency, which is preparing its final report in the case, may recommend a Regular Departmental Action against him as well as some of his senior colleagues who have been kept out of the purview of Navy's Court of Inquiry held in 2005.
Officials investigating the case claimed Kumar had reported the matter to his superior, who was served a letter of displeasure by the former navy vice chief. Kumar was sacked under the Navy Act, while his superior was promoted, they said.
The CBI sources also claimed that the Naval officials were not forthcoming with the information about the charges pressed against Kumar. The agency has filed four charge sheets so far in the case but none of them mentions about the name of the sacked naval Captain. Recently, while opposing the bail application of former Navy officer Kulbushan Parashar, one of the main accused in the case who has been arrested in April last year, CBI's Counsel Mukta Gupta brought out the names of every conspirator before the Court except for the sacked Captain.
The agency has already filed a status report in the Delhi High Court late in 2006 in which it said "no connection between him (sacked Captain Kumar) and Kulbushan Parashar (one of the main accused in the case) and other key players in the conspiracy has been established so far during investigation". "...He (Kumar) was not arrested and charge sheeted so far," the status report said.
The Navy, in a sworn affidavit before the high court, which is hearing a petition filed by Kumar to challenge his dismissal, claimed "the documents on record clearly establish beyond any pale of doubt the involvement (of Kumar) in such a serious act of leakage of official secrets as well as distribution of statutory data of the Indian Navy..." This affidavit was submitted in March but nine months later, "the pale of doubt" statement from the Navy has found no takers in the CBI, officials investigating the case said.
The CBI, in its status report, also contradicted its own investigations when it informed the court that "no intimation of this serious mishap (loss of a pen drive) was given officially by him (Kumar)". However, in its first charge sheet filed on July three this year, the CBI had claimed that Kumar had "orally" reported the loss of an official pen drive sometime at the end of May 2005.
Kumar was dismissed under the Section 15 of the Navy Act, under which an accused official has no right to present his case or see the allegations against him. Kumar has contended that he was neither given a chance nor an opportunity to present his case before the appropriate authority.