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CBI heat on Navy war room leak case accused
Sumir Kaul | January 06, 2008 15:18 IST
The CBI has intensified its efforts to arrest and bring back Navy war room leak accused Ravi Shankaran, a kin of former navy chief Admiral Arun Prakash, to the country amid reports that the main accused may have attained a different passport and has been frequently travelling out of the UK.
CBI sources said there was growing apprehension that the 44-year-old Shankaran could have slipped out of Britain after an arrest warrant was issued against him by a UK court on the CBI's request in April last year.
CBI has reports that Shankaran had been frequenting nearby countries including Sweden, France [Images] and Belgium prompting the investigating agency to send requests to all these countries for his detention, the sources said.
Shankaran, whose passport was revoked in April 2006, has been chargesheeted by the CBI for allegedly obtaining classified data, including the navy's acquisition plans and other sensitive material, from the Directorate of Naval Operations, which is known in military parlance as war room.
Besides these countries, the CBI has sounded an alert to the Netherlands, Germany [Images], Denmark and Norway as Shankaran could use these nations as make-shift bases to ward off his arrest, the sources said, adding he could be criss-crossing Europe on a different passport after the External Affairs Ministry revoked his travel document in 2006.
CBI officials said they were confident of getting Shankaran extradited to India and termed his "vanishing act" as a temporary phase till the law caught up with him.
The agency might also ask the Ministry of External Affairs to tone up the system of duplicate passport in all its overseas missions especially in London [Images] and nearby European countries following allegations that it was being misused to a great extent.
The CBI had earlier sent a request for Shankaran's extradition after Britain's home department routed a message to it through the MEA that India should formally seek his extradition.
India's request for the provisional arrest of Shankaran was made under Article 12 of its extradition treaty with Britain.
The CBI had on September 12, 2006 attached Shankaran's property and bank accounts after he failed to appear before the agency for questioning. This included his office Shanks Oceanographic Pvt Ltd in Goa [Images] and accounts with HSBC Bank of a firm called Besix India, which belonged to him.
The agency conducted raids at his residence and offices in April 2006 after arresting former naval Commander Kulbushan Parashar at Indira Gandhi [Images] International Airport here on his arrival from London.