Theft in Cochin Shipyard: 2 arrested for stealing from INS Vikrant, sold hard drive on OLX

Almost a year after a major security breach in the Cochin Shipyard, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) cracked the case with the arrest of two main accused. The duo was allegedly involved in the sensational case of theft in August-September 2019 when key computer hardware components from the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) INS Vikrant were stolen.

The stolen parts included five micro-processors, 10 RAMs and five solid-state drives from the multi-functional consoles aboard the ship. The multi-functional consoles form part of the Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS) of the Project.

During multiple searches in Bihar, Rajasthan and Gujarat conducted on Wednesday, some stolen electronic devices were recovered and incriminating materials were seized. One of the hard drives stolen by the duo was, however, sold on OLX, a digital platform for selling goods.

A top NIA officer said, “The NIA was brought in as it was suspected to be a case of sabotage.” Finding the accused was like finding a needle in the haystack. The officer said, “Cochin shipyard has hundreds of contractors with 100 employees each.”

The NIA conducted a painstaking and a very detailed investigation in the case. The agency collected and analysed fingerprints and palm-prints of more than 5,000 persons, who had worked in the IAC project during the relevant period. A large number of witnesses were examined. In the month of March 2020, NIA had also announced a reward of Rs 5 lakhs to anybody who gives any credible leads in the case.

The leads came when there was a match of one of the accused. The duo wanted to make money by selling components but only managed to sell the industrial hard drive on OLX for Rs 10,000. The top officer said the agency will try to recover the hard drive as well from the unsuspecting customer.

The duo has been identified as 23-year-old Sumit Kumar Singh – a resident of Bihar’s Munder and 22-year-old Daya Ram – a resident of Rajasthan’s Hanumangarh. Both of them worked as painters at the Cochin Shipyard. Both accused were nabbed from their houses.

The construction of the aircraft carrier, which will be the first indigenously built one in the country, started in 2009 and was aimed to be completed and ready to be commissioned by 2021.

Source – India Today