The decommissioned aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, INS Vikrant, which played an important role in the 1971 Indo-Pak war, has been sold for Rs. 60 crore.
“The auction process of INS Vikrant was completed last week and a company named IB Commercial Pvt Ltd won the bid,” said a defence source in Mumbai on Tuesday.
Earlier, the Maharashtra Government had expressed its inability to maintain Vikrant, the Indian Navy’s first aircraft carrier which was commissioned in 1961. It was decommissioned in January 1997.
The defence source said that once the money is paid, the company will have to tow the ship away from the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai, where it is anchored currently, within thirty days.
“Condition of the ship is so bad that it is not worth converting it into a museum,” the source said, adding that Navy would be able to use the space vacated by the ship in the Dockyard for some other fruitful purposes.
In January 2014, during the hearing of a public interest litigation which opposed the plan to scrap the ship, the Union Ministry of Defence told the Bombay High Court that it had completed its operational life.
While the Maharashtra government stated that to preserve it as a museum would not be viable financially.
The High Court subsequently dismissed the PIL.
The Majestic-class aircraft carrier, purchased from Britain in 1957, played a key role in enforcing the naval blockade of East Pakistan during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971.