NIA takes over INS Vikrant theft case after security alarm

NIA takes over INS Vikrant theft case after security alarm
INS Vikrant under construction at Cochin Shipyard. Photo: PTI

Kochi: After it came to light that the theft on INS Vikrant under construction at the Cochin Shipyard here involved security risks, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been tasked with the case. The Agency took the case after several departments expressed concerns over the incident at the shipbuilding facility in Kerala's Ernakulam district, which is tightly guarded. An FIR has also been registered.

On the basis of a report submitted by the Central Intelligence Bureau, the NIA officials had discussions with Kochi Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare, who was overseeing the case so far. Deputy Commissioner G Poonguzhali is leading the investigation. The Police had registered the case as theft.

Five hard disks and as many RAMS and microprocessors were stolen. Several cables and mechanical parts were also stolen, Police found. The hard drives held sensitive information about the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), a computerised system used onboard ships to monitor the working and course of the vessel and to warn against safety risks.

NIA officials have sought details of IPMS from Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited, the company which built it, and an Italian company which assisted it.

Cochin Shipyard is the largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility in India. It is under the purview of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). While CCTV cameras are installed at its premises, surveillance sensors were not fitted onboard the under-construction aircraft carrier.

INS Vikrant is the first Indian indigenous aircraft carrier vessel of the Indian Navy designed and built in India. The work on the ship's design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. As of 2019, the vessel is expected to start sea trials in February 2021 and enter into service as early as 2023. The project cost has neared Rs 20,000 crores.

With the completion of INS Vikrant, India will join the ranks of US, England, Russia, France and China in the construction of flight carriers.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.