The whistleblower who the made the documents on the Scorpene submarines public will hand over the disk containing the more than 22,000 pages of data to the Australian government on Monday, the weekend edition of English newspaper The Australian reported on Saturday. Australian authorities are also reportedly aware of who he is. "He has not broken any law, and the authorities know who he is. He plans to surrender the disk to the government on Monday," The Weekend Australian report said.
Officials told the publication that the data was taken from French defence contractor DCNS, which designed the submarines, in Paris in 2011 by a French Navy officer, who had left the service in the 1970s and had later become a subcontractor to DCNS. He, along with a colleague, had copied the data and then taken it to a Southeast Asian country, the report added.
A series of incidents followed, and the information was passed on to different hands without its significance being known. The details were transferred to an encrypted disk and kept locked away for years before they were finally revealed to The Australian. The newspaper had reported on Wednesday that the file, marked 'Restricted Scorpene India', had detailed information about the Indian submarine fleet, including their sensors and navigation systems.
News on the whistleblower comes a day after Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said the Scorpene submarine data leak was not a big worry for India because the documents did not reveal details of the weapon system. The Indian Navy is conducting an internal audit to eliminate the possibility of any security compromise, and the Director General for Armament of France has taken up the matter for investigation.
DCNS had said the data leak may have been part of an economic warfare strategy against the defence contractor. India had ordered six Scorpene submarines worth $3 billion (Rs 20,000 crore approximately). The first batch had started undergoing trials in May, and the first of the submarines – INS Kalvari – was expected to be inducted into the Navy in November.