Describing as “scandalous” the Scorpene submarine project leak, the Congress on Wednesday demanded a complete security audit of the Defence Ministry by a sitting Supreme Court judge even as it accused Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar of launching an “operation cover-up”.
The leak had put a question mark on India’s maritime security, the party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, told presspersons here.
Dubbing it the “biggest defence disaster” of recent times, he said it had jeopardised the sole initiative to build six Scorpene submarines in collaboration with French company DCNS at a cost of $3.5 billion (Rs 23,500 crore approximately) by the government-owned Mazagaon Dock Ship Builders Ltd at Mumbai.
Mr. Surjewala claimed that all those concerned, including the Defence Minister and Navy, were speaking in contradictory voices. “While Mr. Parrikar continues to describe the leaks as hacking, the Navy states that the source of leaks is overseas and not in India,” he said.
With a coastline of 7,517 km to defend with merely 13 submarines and one nuclear submarine, the government appears to be living in denial, he said.
Former Defence Minister A.K. Antony demanded an immediate high-level inquiry.