Theft onboard INS Vikrant: NIA arrests two painters from Bihar

The theft was reported in September 2019 from Cochin Shipyard in Kerala

INS Vikrant The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier, INS Vikrant, under construction at Cochin Shipyard | Indian Navy

The National Investigation Agency has claimed to have cracked the sensational case involving the theft of hard disks, RAMs and processors from INS Vikrant, India's first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC). The theft was reported in September 2019 during the construction of the ship at the Cochin Shipyard in Kerala.

Now, it has emerged that the agency has arrested two migrant workers from Bihar on Tuesday in connection with the case. One person hails from Bihar, while the other is a Rajasthan resident. Both worked as painters in the ship.

NIA sources said they apparently stole the equipment in response to their dismissal from the job. The duo was terminated from their services after an altercation with the contractor. 

Following the theft, NIA had examined the fingerprints of over 5,000 people with the assistance of Kerala Police. The security at the shipyard has also been tightened after the incident with the deployment of additional Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel. Biometric scanning and body scanning have also been made mandatory at the gates.

Cochin Shipyard is the largest shipbuilding and maintenance facility in India. The work on INS Vikrant's design began in 1999, and the keel was laid in February 2009. The ship is expected to start sea trials in February 2021 and enter into service as early as 2023. The project cost has neared Rs 20,000 crore.

Once completed, India will join the ranks of the US, England, Russia, France and China in the construction of flight carriers.