They were guilty of making public on Internet sensitive operational details of location of warships

OUR DELHI BUREAU New Delhi

Four Naval officers of commander rank have been taken off important duties and issued a g

ag notice, after a Board of Inquiry held them guilty of making public on Internet sensitive operational details of location of warships as also weapons and armament deployed on them.

They were identified as the technical officers deployed on INS Shivaji.

The gag notice was issued to all officers on the warship after Navy chief Admiral Nirmal Verma said action will be taken once he studies the report of the inquiry ordered by the Western Command last month on leak of classified information on Facebook and other websites.

Sources said the board has recommended dismissal of all the four indicted officers, belonging to the same 1996 batch, for sharing the classified information on the social networking sites, which leaked it out to others, including foreigners, compromising security.

The Defence Ministry has sought details of the Board of Inquiry report as it is surprised that social networking sites are being used by the Armed Forces personnel despite strict guidelines not to put any matter of the Services in public domain.

The Naval Western Command came to know about the leak a few months back when it began tracking the four officers and then instituted the Board of Inquiry, which is reported to have confirmed that the four officers had posted the operational details. They were also found to be in possession of classified information on their personal computers. The inquiry is believed to have held the officers guilty of copying the classified information, which cannot be taken out of operational areas.

PTI ADDS: The Indian Army has asked its officers and personnel to remove all pictures and information showing their affiliation to the Service from their personal profiles on social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Orkut. Though the Army and the other two services have been issuing circulars and advisories in this regard, a significant number of the personnel still have pictures and information about their respective services on these websites.

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