Scorpene submarines data ‘unclassified’; ‘stolen’ in 2011, ‘not leaked’: Report
Amid stir over leak of data related to Scorpene submarines, a French government source has claimed that data were ‘stolen’ from French naval contractor DCNS and ‘not leaked’.
“It is not a leak, it is theft. We have not found any DCNS negligence, but we have identified some dishonesty by an individual,” a report in Indian Express quoted a government source as saying.
It said that the documents appeared to have been stolen in 2011 by a former French employee that had been fired while providing training in India on the use of the submarines.
The report, quoting sources, also claimed that the information published so far showed only operational aspects of the submarines.
“The documents were not classified and at this stage appeared to only focus on the operational elements of the submarines,” the source was quoted as saying.
Both India and France have launched an investigation after ‘The Australian’ newspaper published on Wednesday documents about its Scorpene submarines being built in India.
The latest information comes in the backdrop of reports suggesting that a former French naval officer working as a sub-contractor for the DCNS might be behind the leak of data which were written in France in 2011. The French firm initially suggested the leak might be at the Indian end, saying it supplies but does not control access to technical data.
The Indian Navy on its parts, however, stressed that the leak did not happen in India.
DCNS, two-thirds owned by the French government, said a probe will be carried out to determine the exact nature of the leaked papers, potential damage to the company and customers and responsibilities for this leak.
The leaked data contained documents on the Scorpene submarines, designed by French company DCNS and being built in India by the Mazagaon Dock Limited in Mumbai (Maharashtra) at a cost of around $3.5 billion (Rs 23,486 crore).
DCNS this year signed a contract with Australia for the manufacture of 12 submarines.
The first of the Scorpene-class submarines being built in India, Kalvari, went for sea trials in May and is expected to be inducted in the Indian Navy by this year-end.
Officials said the other six submarines, in different stages of construction, will be inducted subsequently at intervals of nine months each.
The variants of the Scorpene submarine are used by Malaysia and Chile, and Brazil is soon to join the club