Four persons who were arrested in the case of leakage of “secret” documents, including inputs on National Gas Grid for the Finance Minister’s upcoming budget speech, were today remanded to police custody till February 23 by a Delhi court.
The Crime Branch of Delhi Police told the court that these four persons, along with other three arrested persons, were passing certain “sensitive documents” to some corporate houses to benefit them.
The police said that documents of ministries of Coal, Power and others were recovered from the possession of the accused and custodial interrogation of four persons –Lalta Prasad, Rakesh Kumar, Prayas Jain and Shantanu Saikia –was required to ascertain the truth.
“Various sensitive documents of Ministries of Coal, Power and other ministries have been recovered. The companies which were benefited by them (accused) have to be investigated,” the police told Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal while seeking custodial interrogation of four accused.
The police also said that these accused were required to be confronted with the documents to ascertain the identity of their associates who were part of the entire conspiracy.
Regarding the other three accused — Ishwar Singh, Asharam and Rajkumar Chaubey, who were today remanded to jail under judicial custody for two weeks, the police said they were not required for custodial interrogation.
During the hearing, the court asked the police about the names of companies which were allegedly involved in the case.
Responding to this, the police maintained confidentiality about the firms by saying that the names of companies were there in disclosure statements of the accused which have been annexed in the file placed before the court.
In its FIR, the police said that from the possession of accused Rakesh Kumar, photocopies of sensitive documents including input on FM’s budget speech have been recovered.
“Photocopy of documents with heading input material on National Gas Grid for inclusion in Finance Minister’s budget speech 2015-16,” it has said in its FIR filed in the case.
Let the police complete its investigation everything will be clear : Dharmendra Pradhan,Petroleum Minister pic.twitter.com/p1o93vMcKM
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 20, 2015
Detailing the alleged roles of accused, the police said Chaubey was driving the car in which “secret and confidential” documents were recovered while Asharam and Ishwar Singh used to pass on information from the Petroleum Ministry to him.
Asharam, who was working in the Petroleum Ministry, used to switch off the CCTV cameras installed in the ministry after which his sons Prasad and Rakesh used to enter the premises by using fake entry cards which they had procured by paying Rs 4,000 each, the police said.
Regarding Saikia, the police said huge amount of documents were recovered from his possession while Prasad used to illegally trespass in the Petroleum Ministry to procure the documents.
Dharmendra Pradhan,Petro Min : We had doubts on the basis of which surveillance cameras were set up,we asked agencies to work on it,probe on
— ANI (@ANI_news) February 20, 2015
It claimed that these documents were passed on to Jain who allegedly used to pay Rs 70,000 and Rs 40,000 per month to Prasad and Rakesh respectively, and Saikia.
Regarding Jain, the police alleged that he used to charge from his clients for these secret documents.
The police said that they are going through the voluminous documents and questioning of these four accused was required.
During the hearing, the counsel appearing for Saikia told the court that his client is a journalist and the documents which he was possessing were a part of his profession.
The defence counsel contended that the police have to first show that how these documents were classified.
Lawyers, representing the other accused who were remanded in police custody, pleaded before the court to allow them to meet their clients during police custody. The court allowed their submission and asked them to meet their clients during police custody at 6 PM tomorrow.
Jain and Saikia were arrested today while the other five were arrested yesterday. Both of them are energy consultants who allegedly received “stolen” documents, the police said.
Saikia runs a web portal on petroleum issues and has his office in Defence Colony in South Delhi while Jain runs his consultancy firm in Patel Nagar here.
The police had yesterday arrested two Oil Ministry officials and three middlemen in connection with alleged leaking of classified government documents to energy companies for money.