KOCHI: Nearly a week after the shocking incident of theft of computer devices from the indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant came to light, there are indications of a move to hush up the case as a simple theft.
While the theft in the vital defence vessel, being built at the Cochin Shipyard here, amounts to threat to national security, the Special Investigation Team probing the case has registered a weak FIR, invoking irrelevant sections of the IPC.
Kochi police commissioner Vijay Sakhare had tried to downplay the incident in a recent media report. Though TNIE tried to contact the officer, who is overseeing the investigation, he refused to respond.
The Ernakulam South Police, in the FIR dated September 16, has registered offences under Sections 457 (trespassing to commit offence), 461 (dishonestly breaking open receptacle containing property) and IPC 380 (theft) against unidentified persons. These are the sections invoked in house break-in cases too.
Legal experts point out that the theft in the aircraft carrier amounts to a serious breach of national security and the investigators should invoke stringent provisions under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
“Even circulation of counterfeit notes comes under the UAP Act. When that is the case, theft in a high-security zone, connected with national defence, should be treated seriously. The angle of espionage should be probed. For this, UAP Act should be invoked,” said a legal expert.
“The police have not uploaded the FIR in the police website citing national security issue. Then what is the logic behind terming the incident as a simple theft,” the expert asked.
The complaint, filed by the shipyard, said that hard discs, CPUs, processors and RAM, which were linked to the vital Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) of the ship, have gone missing.
The theft happened at a high-security zone which is guarded by 133 CISF personnel and 90 ex-servicemen deployed by a private security agency.
Former NIA SP Rajmohantold Express that the investigators could have invoked serious sections, including provisions of the Official Secrets Act and maritime law, as the theft happened inside a defence vessel.
He, however, said the police can add more sections during the course of the investigation.