KOCHI: The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has taken over the probe into the theft of hard disks from country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant being built at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) here.
The decision to hand over the probe to the NIA was taken after an agency team held discussions with Kerala Police which had launched an investigation as CSL lodged a complaint of theft with Kochi city police on September 16.
“We have received an official communique from NIA headquarters in Delhi approving the takeover of the probe. A preliminary inquiry was conducted based on the case registered by Kerala,” said an NIA officer.
The police FIR will be re-registered and filed before the NIA court in Kochi.
In fact, Kerala Police recommended an NIA probe into the theft considering the national security angle in the theft of hard disks that contained data on the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) for the vessel which was developed by Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) jointly with Italy-based GE-Avio.
It was TNIE that first reported the national security and espionage angle in the theft in reports published on September 19 and September 20.
The IPMS was exclusively designed, manufactured and tested at BHEL Bengaluru jointly with GE-Avio.
It has a state-of-the-art Automatic Power Management System and the company started integrating it into the vessel after conducting a final Integrated Factory Acceptance Test (IFAT) protocol which was attended by experts of Indian Navy and Cochin Shipyard.
The IPMS is a system used onboard ships and submarines for real-time monitoring and control of the vessel’s hull, mechanical, electrical and damage-control machinery and systems.