All computer parts stolen from the under-construction Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) at the Cochin Shipyard Ltd in 2019 have been finally recovered by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) team probing the theft. On Wednesday, the NIA recovered the processors from a person who had bought the gadgets online from the two thieves arrested in the case.
In September last year, theft on board 'INS Vikrant' had surfaced. Kerala Police had registered a case of criminal trespass and theft of critical electronic components installed onboard the IAC following a complaint by the Cochin Shipyard authorities.
The NIA took over the probe on September 26, 2019, following national security concerns that sensitive information was stored in these hard disks.
The NIA had arrested two suspects from Bihar and Rajasthan this month. The arrested accused Sumit Kumar Singh, 23, of Munger district, and Daya Ram, 22, of Hanumangarh were engaged in painting activities when they committed the crime.
After their arrest, the NIA team had brought the two to Kerala and continued with its probe.
According to NIA officials, four computers were dismantled and their hardware was stolen, including five micro-processors, 10 RAMs, five Solid State Drives (SSDs), from the Multi-Functional Consoles (MFCs) aboard the ship. The investigation hit a roadblock when the NIA team realised that some of these parts were sold online. The NIA traced and recovered the stolen hardware from the man who bought the parts online.
The NIA team has recovered all stolen parts of the computers.
INS Vikrant is the first indigenous aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy. The work on the ship's design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. As of 2019, the ship is expected to start sea trials in February 2021 and enter active service as early as 2023. The project cost has neared Rs 20,000 crore.
With the completion of INS Vikrant, India will join the ranks of the US, UK, Russia, France and China in the construction of aircraft carriers.