The Supreme Court ordered maintenance of status quo on India’s first aircraft carrier ‘INS Vikrant’ which is on the verge of being converted into scrap. The ship was due at the scrap yard on May 17 after it was sold for Rs.60 crore through an e-auction to the Mumbai-based IB Commercials Pvt Ltd.
A bench comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and Vikramjit Sen issued notices to Ministry of Defence and other authorities concerned on the petition challenging the Bombay High Court decision rejecting the plea to preserve ‘INS Vikrant’ by converting it into a maritime museum.
Through the ‘Save Vikrant Committee’, Mr. Paigankar and other activists last month moved the apex court in a bid to save the vessel which saw action in the 1971 India-Pakistan war. The imposing vessel, commissioned in the Indian Navy in 1961, was decommissioned in 1997 and has been kept anchored at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
The 70-year-old vessel, purchased as HMS Hercules from Britain in 1957 and rechristened as ‘INS Vikrant’, helped enforce a naval blockade of East Pakistan — now Bangladesh — during the 1971 war.