Eight years after CBI filed the charge sheet in a case relating to leakage of information from Naval war room, a court today framed charges against Ravi Shankaran, Abhishek Varma and four other former senior defence officials under Official Secrets Act.
CBI spokesperson Kachan Prasad said the court framed charges under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and other sections of OSA against Verma, Shankaran, a kin of former Navy Chief Admiral Arun Prakash, former Naval Commander Kulbushan Rana sacked Naval Commanders Vijender Rana and V K Jha and ex-IAF Wing Commander S L Surve.
The court has fixed August eight as the next date of hearing, she said.
In a separate case, the CBI spokesperson said, the court also framed charges against Verma, former Naval Captain Salam Singh Rathore and former Naval Commander J S Kalra under OSA and Indian Penal Code.
In the first case, a chareg sheet was filed by CBI on July 3, 2006, and a supplementary charge sheet naming Verma on October 19, 2006.
The accused were chargesheeted under 120-B (Criminal Conspiracy) of IPC to commit offence under Officials Secret Act for allegedly entering into a conspiracy and "compromised" about 7000 pages of defence information of sensitive nature from the Naval war room and air defence headquarters, which have a direct bearing on national security.
The case was registered by CBI on March 20, 2006 on a reference from the Defence Ministry after scrutiny of inquiry held by the Indian Air Force against Surve and the Board of Inquiry conducted by the Indian Navy.
Parashar was arrested at the airport on April five, 2006 on his return from London.
CBI claimed in its 250-page charge sheet that the accused defence officials allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy for obtaining and collecting information related to defence matters, which was calculated to be or might be or was intended to be useful to the enemy or which related to a matter the disclosure of which to unauthorised persons was prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India and the security of the state.
Shankaran, who is at present in London, has frustrated all attempts by CBI to extradite him.
In the second case, CBI had filed a charge sheet against Verma, former Naval Captain Salam Singh Rathore and former Naval Commander J S Kalra.
The chargesheet in this case was filed by CBI in February 2007 in which the agency alleged that Rathore had, during his tenure in acquisition wing of the defence ministry, got "illegal gratification" from Kulbushan Parashar, one of the main accused in the Naval war room leak case.
During searches at his residence, CBI had claimed to have recovered several documents out of which he had allegedly passed on three "sensitive papers" to Kalra who had resigned from the Navy and joined Hindustan Aeronautics Limited as its Deputy General Manager (Customer Service).
Kalra received these documents from the defence ministry for onward transmission to HAL corporate office but he without authorisation retained them, CBI had alleged.