More than a year after several top secret documents that detailed the Air Forces acquisitions and future plans were found to have been circulated by an arms dealer to international agents,the Air Chief has claimed that the leaks did not occur from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and that other agencies had access to the sensitive files.
However,a confidential note prepared by the Defence Ministry has clearly stated that at least four of the eight top secret documents the leak of which shocked the armed forces given the depth of information they contained originated from the Air Headquarters and were part of an online database created by the IAF.
Although the Defence Ministry note confirms that most of the top secret military documents found allegedly from the offices of arms agent Abhishek Verma have been identified as belonging to the Air HQ,not a single serving officer has yet been booked for the leak. The report,accessed by The Indian Express,makes it clear that the four leaked documents from Air HQ are very sensitive in nature and that the leak might have endangered the security of the nation.
When asked if the leak has been plugged,Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne denied that the Air Force had anything to do with the leaks. They were not leaked from Air HQ. The documents are about other services as well. There are other agencies also that deal with these documents, Browne,who is to retire by the end of this year,said.
The matter of the leaked documents first came to light in July last year when The Indian Express reported that a set of sensitive documents had been sent by Vermas former escrow agent in the US,C Edmonds Allen,to expose the agent dealers nexus in India. Within a few weeks,the CBI registered a case under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) against Verma and others.
However,even after one year,no serving IAF official has been booked by the CBI,although a retired officer,Wing Commander Koka Rao,has been identified as one of the accused who helped in procuring the documents.
In a report sent to the CBI by P Mohanty,Director (Vigilance) in the Defence Ministry,it has been stated that documents that have been found to be in violation of the OSA include the annual acquisition plans (2004-06) of the air force,summary of key acquisition projects,upgrade packages of equipment and handwritten notes detailing almost the entire revenue expenditure of the IAF.
The report also states that three of the most sensitive documents that have been leaked are prints from a database prepared by Air HQ for monitoring IAF projects. It says the information about the documents has been received from the Directorate of Plans,Air HQ. However,the report does not identify which official in the IAF was responsible for the documents.