Ahmedabad : The new owner of INS Virat has demanded Rs 100 crore from a Mumbai-based company to sell it. The company is making a last effort to save the warship from breaking and convert it into a museum. INS Virat is an aircraft carrier, which was inducted into the Navy in 1987 and removed from service in 2017. It was bought by the Shri Ram Group in July this year for Rs 38.54 crore in an auction.
INS Virat is the second aircraft carrier slated to be broken down in India. In 2014, it was dismantled in Mumbai. The 70-year-old aircraft carrier had won the Falklands War against Argentina in 1982 for the Royal British Navy. It weighs about 27,800 tonnes and served the British Navy as HMS Hermes from November 1959 to April 1984 and after refurbishment, was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1987.
The warship, a symbol of Indian maritime heritage, was transported to the ship-breaking yard of Gujarat last week. Shriram Group Chairman Mukesh Patel said that since the ship was purchased as junk in an auction, now interested buyers will have to obtain a No Objection Certificate from the Ministry of Defense to buy it.
‘I bought this warship because of my patriotism. Now a Mumbai-based company wants to convert it into a museum. Here too, due to patriotism, I agreed to sell it, but for this, the buyer must first obtain a No Objection Certificate. I can’t sell it again without it,’ said Patel. ‘At first I was asking for Rs 125 crore, but after considering the company’s good work, I agreed to sell it for 100 crores.’
He further said that the offer is valid only for a limited period and he can wait till next week only. It is noteworthy that VK Sharma, managing director of NVTech Marine Consultants Private Limited has shown interest in buying Virat.