Naval officers in the dock, for the wrong reasons

Navy’s intelligence performs a ‘clean sweep’; Lands four Commanders in the dock for alleged misdeeds in cyberspace & carrying official data home

It was a splendid catch. Mid-way through 2011, the naval intelligence managed to not only detect a ‘leak’ of a sensitive nature occurring from within but also followed up on it, ensuring a total disruption of these activities. In the end, the int team had netted four officers of Commander rank, all technical officers for their alleged misdemeanours in cyberspace.

This was swiftly followed up by a Board of Inquiry (BoI), which recommended dismissal of two and a severe rap on the knuckles for the other two. Once affirmed by the the Western Naval Command (WNC), under whose aegis these officers were posted, matters moved to the Naval HQs, New Delhi, where they presently rest.

Exclusively broken and aired by TIMES NOW:

a. On Wednesday evening (Jan 25, 2012), we managed to break this bit.

b. Jan 26, 2012:

c. Jan 27, 2012:

Public handling: Navy scores a self-goal, yet again

Before elaborating here, I must highlight the valuable time and clarity provided by those who will remain unnamed here but in the face of an uncalled-for information blackout, their efforts at showing the service in correct light are worth applauding.

Even though the uncovering mess of this was a tribute to navy’s eternal vigilance, even over its own, the leadership was keen on accumulating collective guilt over this. This ensured that the act of four managed to taint the organisation to an extent that it retreated into a shell and refused to see reason.

This author had sought an official response from the navy before going public. None came. For a bold leadership, it would have been an occasion to claim what was rightfully their credit. Instead, by putting self before service perhaps to ensure a peaceful tenure, it ended up giving the public a picture of an institution shocked, embarrassed and on the run. This paranoia further ensured that even an informal briefing – an ‘all weather’ tool for dissemination of the correct picture – too was abandoned in pursuing some secret, strategic goal.

Identities hidden on purpose

One feedback and query which came related to the names and identities of these officers. It was asked why were we not naming them. As an editorial call taken at the highest level, it was decided to not come out in open with the names, even though we had them. In fact, while preparing for this report, we had managed to gather a lot of material on these officers, and even otherwise, but have held it back. Atleast for now.


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