New Delhi: The CBI has asked the government for permission to invoke the Official Secrets Act against arrested Navy officers accused of passing on confidential information about India's submarines to "unauthorised persons", sources said.

"As the investigation revealed confidential, sensitive information from Navy offices were leaked, the agency has decided to invoke Official Secrets Act," the sources said.

Last week the agency charged a serving and two retired officers under the Anti-Corruption Act.

Acting on source-based information, the CBI in September had registered a FIR against two retired Navy officers for trading confidential information on naval projects.

The FIR, which has not been made public but has been seen by NDTV, states "confidential information on procurement of three hulls" was leaked to outsiders for illegal gratification.

The FIR also states "information regarding operations/procurement was leaked from various Navy offices" and that the retired officers bribed the serving officers for those details.

This espionage racket came to light after the CBI arrested the retired officers - Randeep Singh and SJ Singh on September 3. Subsequent searches at a property belonging to Commander Randeep Singh (retired) led to the recovery of around ₹ 2 crore in cash.

"Source also informed that on 18.08.2021, SJ Singh met Randeep Singh at the residence of Randeep Singh in Noida, UP, and handed over a screenshot of the main report of the meeting held at Navy office in hard copy." the FIR says.

The CBI then arrested Commander Ajit Kumar Pandey, posted at the Western Naval Command headquarters. A second officer, working under Commander Pandey at the same location, was also arrested.

Sources said Commander SJ Singh, who retired earlier this year, was working for a Korean company with an interest in Navy projects.

At least a dozen people, including a Rear Admiral, have been questioned in the case.