Mumbai, April 9 :
India’s first aircraft carrier INS Vikrant which saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan war, has been auctioned and sold to a ship-breaker for Rs.60 crore, an official said here Wednesday.
It was sold through an auction to Mumbai’s IB Commercials Pvt. Ltd., but details are awaited.
Activist Kiran Paigankar, who had earlier filed a writ petition in Bombay High Court trying to save the ship, said he plans to move the Supreme Court against the auction.
“We shall request the Supreme Court to allow any other state government or port trust to come forward and take it over since the Maharashtra government is not willing to save it,” Paigankar told IANS.
The once-imposing vessel, commissioned by the Indian Navy in 1961, was decommissioned in 1997 and has been kept on anchor at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
During the hearing of the PIL in January 2014, the central government informed the Bombay High Court that the ship had completed its operational life.
The Maharashtra government expressed its inability to preserve it as a floating museum owing to financial constraints following which the Bombay High Court dismissed Paigankar’s PIL.
He now plans to move the apex court as a last attempt to save the 15,000 tonnes steel ship.
The 70-year-old vessel, purchased as HMS Hercules from Great Britain in 1957, was later rechristened as ‘INS Vikrant’ and helped enforce a naval blockade of East Pakistan – now Bangladesh – during the 1971 war.