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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Two retired Navy officers granted bail in submarine info leak case

Granting default bail to the two ex-Navy officers, the court noted that the chargesheet filed before it was “incomplete”.

Written by Anand Mohan J | New Delhi |
Updated: November 22, 2021 6:35:24 pm
As per the CBI, commanders serving at the Western Naval Command in Mumbai, had discussed crucial details about the ongoing modernisation project of kilo-class submarines with the two retired officers for alleged illegal gratification. (Representational image/file)

A Delhi court has granted bail to two retired Navy officers and a private person who were arrested by the CBI for allegedly leaking information related to an ongoing submarine project in return for illegal gratification.

Special Judge Anuradha Shukla Bhardwaj, in an order passed on November 18, granted bail to Commander (retired) S J Singh, Commodore (retired) Randeep Singh and Executive Director of Allen Reinforced Plastics Ltd TP Shastri. They have been granted bail on furnishing a personal bond of Rs one lakh with a surety of like amount.

The court noted that the “charge sheet filed… is incomplete in as much as there is no mention regarding the investigation being carried (out) under the Official Secrets Act…”

As per the CBI, commanders serving at the Western Naval Command in Mumbai, had discussed crucial details about the ongoing modernisation project of kilo-class submarines with the two retired officers for alleged illegal gratification. The CBI had filed two separate chargesheets in this case in which a serving commander of the Indian Navy, among six others, have been charge-sheeted.

The accused persons, represented by Bharat Chugh, Sumit Kumar and Meenesh Dubey, had argued for bail on the ground that “a right has accrued in favour of accused persons on account of non-filing of charge sheet under the provisions of the Official Secrets Act”.

The CBI had argued that offences under this Act were being investigated and will be a part of the supplementary chargesheet. The defence counsels argued that “since the chargesheet under Official Secrets Act has not been filed so far, the applicants are entitled for grant of default bail under section 167(2) of CrPC.”

Section 167(2) of CrPC is commonly referred to as “default bail” and is granted on account of the default of the investigating agency in not completing the investigation within the prescribed time, irrespective of the merits of the case.

The CBI, had argued that to attract the provisions of section 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, “the investigating agency has requested by way of proposal to the Ministry of Defence regarding filing of the complaint and that process is pending.”

Court said that even if the “ball was in the court of the concerned ministry” the “part of CBI was not over in as much as it was expected to file a report alongside the said complaint with all the evidence collected by it.”

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