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Yesterday, V Adm Bimal Verma filed a petition challenging his super session by the Modi Government. Some background since I have some personal knowledge of this #thread
As a Commodore Bimal Verma was the Principal Director of what is known as the Naval Operations Directorate. The ops room also casually referred to as the Naval War Room.
In May 2005, the IAF was alerted about a possible leak of classified information from the Naval War Room. Dana's @josyjosephkj broke the story in June and reported that a BoI was constituted into the leak.
What was the connection between IAF and the Naval War Room? A pen drive recovered from an IAF officer discovered information from the Naval War Room.
Till February 2006 the UPA government literally sat on the investigation until a series of stories appeared in Outlook. I was the author. The series started in Jan 2006 with call records of many including then Chief of Naval Staff, Arun Prakash.
Calls showed alleged arms dealers talking to each other. There was a call from a direct line (not exchange) of Naval House, residence of the Naval Chief to one of the accused alleged "arms dealers"
Subsequent stories unearthed that one of that accused officers may have been falsely implicated in the case. Subsequent investigation by the CBI, which was a fallout of the Outlook magazine's investigation, proved this to be true.
But why was Bimal Verma not pulled up after such a massive controversy directly under him? His elder brother, then V Adm Nirmal Verma was the Chief of Personnel (CoP). All disciplinary issues and investigations come under him.
Adm Nirmal Verma was also slated to be the navy chief after Adm Sureesh Mehta. Did these have anything to do with the apparent lack of action against Bimal Verma?
Two things happened to Bimal Verma as we could make out then. He was issued a letter of severe displeasure but didn't have to face dismissal unlike the other naval and IAF officers.
But who issued the letter of severe displeasure? It was the then Vice Chief of Naval Staff and NOT the Chief of Naval Staff. Why is this important?
A letter of displeasure from the Chief of Naval Staff is permanent. It seals the officer's career. But one from the Vice Chief is not permanent. And the officer is eligible for further promotions.
So not only did Bimal Verma get promoted, he also received command of frontline ships like INS Mysore. Meanwhile, the BJP held a major press conference with LK Advani, Jaswant Singh and George Fernandes asking uncomfortable questions.
Ironically, many of the defence correspondents active now, didn't follow this story barring a few journalists. Notably, one was from PTI, another NDTV and some one who was freelancing and just quit HT after a stellar record.
The govt ignored the BJP and even misled Parliament to an extent. The facts for buried in time. And Adm Verma received plum postings till he became C-in-C Andaman & Nicobar. It was then that a decision was taken to not give him command of either the Eastern or Western Naval Comd.
Some of those who were allowed to escape the country remain absconders as per Indian law. The BJP also forgot about this case except for a rare mention from Manohar Parrikar.
More details and background to some of this here:
Sadly, while making the right noises, the current BJP/Modi government did nothing to pursue this case. Even the extradition case in the UK was diluted and no effort made to get the absconders back. This remains a major blot on the Indian Navy.
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