The commanding officer of INS Sindhuratna will face court martial even as six other officers have been severely reprimanded for the tragedy onboard the submarine which resulted in the death of two in February last year.
Navy officials said that letters of severe reprimand have been sent to six officers. The accident on board INS Sindhuratna, a Kilo-class diesel-electric submarine was followed by the resignation of former Navy Chief Admiral D K Joshi. A high-level Board of Inquiry (BoI) headed by a two-star Admiral had carried out the investigation to ascertain the cause leading to the incident.
“Six officers (were) awarded letter of severe displeasure (LOSD) by the (Chief of Naval Staff) CNS. Commanding officer (has been) recommended for court martial,” said a Navy official. INS Sindhuratna was at sea off Mumbai for routine training and workup (inspection). While at sea in the early hours of February 26, smoke was reported in the sailors’ accommodation in compartment number three of the submarine. Smoke was brought under control by the crew, but in the process of controlling the smoke/fire, seven crew members inhaled smoke and felt uneasy. Two officers had died in the mishap.
The accident was one of the series of accidents on board Indian Naval ships and was followed by a mishap onboard INS Sindhurakshak, another submarine of the same class.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had in November said that the Board of Inquiry (BOI) report in case of INS Sindhuratna had found seven officers culpable of various acts of omissions and commissions. “Disciplinary action against these officers has been initiated at the Western Naval Command headquarters,” he had then said.