Top Navy officer may face court martial in submarine mishap

Last Updated 09 April 2014, 15:25 IST

A Commodore-rank officer may face a court martial on the basis of a probe into the submarine mishap off the Mumbai coast recently which led to the resignation of Admiral DK Joshi as Chief of Naval Staff.

Two officers had lost their lives in the mishap involving INS Sindhuratna on February 26 after which the Naval headquarters had ordered an inquiry which was conducted by a Board headed by Rear Admiral Sunil Bokhare.

On the basis of this inquiry, Western Naval Command is understood to have recommended to the headquarters court martial of an officer holding the position of a Commodore, equivalent to a Brigadier in the Army, sources said today. Two mid-ranking officers have also been recommended for being awarded "severe displeasure", they said.

The Commodore-rank officer was closely associated with the trials on board the Russian-origin Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuratna which was undergoing trials off the coast of Mumbai, they said.

The report of the probe headed by Bokhare, who is the Flag Officer (Submarines), has been submitted by the Western Command with its recommendations to the Naval Headquarters here and it will be examined by the various branches of the force, the sources said.

The recommendations of the probe report and the Western Naval Command will have to be confirmed by the Naval Headquarters before any action is initiated against the officers, they said.

The probe report, according to sources, is also understood to have found out that the cable above the submarine's battery compartment which caught fire was not supposed to be checked by the Navy as per the instructions of the Russian vendors.

Joshi had resigned after the mishap involving the Sindhuratna taking moral responsibility for the ten accidents involving the maritime force’s assets.

The Sindhuratna is part navy’s fleet of nine Kilo class submarines. A tenth submarine--the INS Sindhurakshak--exploded and sank in the naval dockyard on August 14, 2013 killing 18 crewmen on board. The Sindhuratna was moored nearby and suffered minor fire damage when the Sindhurakshak exploded.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Navy Command has ordered a Board of Inquiry into the loss of a torpedo during trials off the Vishakhapatnam coast recently.

The inquiry is being done to put on record the loss of the trial torpedo being developed by Kazakhstan, Navy officials said.

(Published 09 April 2014, 15:25 IST)

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