Naval war room leak case: 2 former officers granted bail

New Delhi, May 11: The Delhi High Court Friday granted conditional bail to two former Navy Commanders Kulbhushan Parashar and Vijender Rana, arrested for their alleged roles in the 2006 Naval war room leak case for leaking classified documents from the Directorate of Naval Operations.

Justice V.K. Shali granted bail to both the accused on the personal bond of Rs.2 lakh and two securities of same amount accepting their plea that they have been in jail for nearly six years without any trial due to non-framing of charges.

The court asked them not to leave the National Capital Region of Delhi without the permission of trial court. It was also directed by the court that they shall not temper with the evidence or create any conditions which may not be conducive to the holding of fair trial.

Justice Shali also imposed condition that the accused shall not create any hurdle in the extradition of Ravi Shankar, who has been declared a proclaimed offender and has been absconding.

“They shall not communicate with Ravi Shankar either directly or indirectly till the time decision on his extradition proceedings istaken by the British court,” the court said.

It was also directed by the court that they have to attend the court on each and every date of hearing and shall not take any adjournment so as to delay the trial. In addition to that they have to surrender their passport to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

They have been charged under 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code to commit offence under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly conspiring to leak in 2006 about 7,000 pages of documents having sensitive defence information from the Naval war room and air defence headquarters, which have a direct bearing on national security.

Earlier, in 2009, the high court had denied bail to Rana saying that if the trial court does not pronounce the order on framing of charges by July 31, 2009, then there are good chances of him getting bail.

Besides Parashar and Rana, others accused in the case are sacked Naval Commander V.K. Jha, former Indian Air Force Wing Commander S.L. Surve, businessman Abhishek Verma and former Navy chief Admiral (Retd) Arun Prakash’s relative Ravi Shankaran.

According to the first information report (FIR) filed under the Official Secrets Act, it was found that Kulbhushan Parashar, Ravi Shankaran and others, in connivance with naval staff had hatched a conspiracy to steal classified defence documents from the naval headquarters.

IANS