Retired Captain awarded 7 year jail term for leaking classified documents in exchange of money

Retired captain Salam Singh Rathore was awarded a seven-year rigorous imprisonment by a Delhi court on Wednesday, on charges of him committing an offence against national security, in an offshoot of the 2005 Navy War Room leak case, Indian Express has reported.

Special CBI Judge S K Aggarwal awarded the jail term to Rathore under the Official Secrets Act, on charges of spying. The judge thus convicted Rathore under Section 3(1) C of the 1923 Official Secrets Act, but acquitted Commander (retired) Jarnail Singh Kalra – another accused in the matter.

The chargesheets against both the accused were filed by the CBI in 2007.

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As confirmed by a CBI officer, “Charges have been framed against the duo for offences under Sections 120-B and 409 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, 1923 for obtaining, retaining, collecting and passing on of sensitive classified defence documents having a bearing on national security”.

The case was unravelled in 2005, and involved leaking of over 7,000 pages of sensitive defence information from the naval war room and air defence headquarters. The case came to light after an Air Force Directorate Officer was put under surveillance by the Air Force, after he allegedly had an extra-marital affair. During its investigation the IAF had recovered a pen drive containing India’s naval and maritime plans for the next 20 years.

The initial names that surfaced in the war room leak case, were of former Navy officer Kulbhushan Parashar, former naval commander Vijender Rana, Captain Kashyap Kumar, sacked naval commander V K Jha, former IAF Wing Commander Sambha Jee L Surve and arms dealer and Delhi-based businessman Abhishek Verma.

The CBI stepped in and took over the case in 2006 and filed its first chargesheet against individuals like retired naval officers Ravi Shankaran, Kulbhushan Parashar, and arms dealer Abhishek Verma.

After further investigation, a second chargesheet was filed by the agency in February 2007 and contained the names of other two former naval officers Salam Singh Rathore and Kalra.

It was alleged that Rathore, while being posted in the acquisition wing of the Ministry of Defence, had obtained gifts in cash and kind from a defence middleman. Subsequently a large number of classified defence documents were Rathore’s residential premises.

As per the report, three sensitive documents recovered from Rathore were allegedly given to him by Jarnail Singh Kalra. Karla who had received the documents from the Defence Ministry, was supposed to pass them on to HAL Corporate Office, Bangalore.

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