Petroleum Ministry document leak: Reliance Industries staffer, 4 others taken to site of crime

By: | Published: February 20, 2015 2:52 PM

Cracking down on a suspected case of corporate espionage, Delhi Police arrested two Oil Ministry officials, a Reliance Industries staffer and 2 other middlemen...

Delhi Police today took the five persons, who they have arrested for allegedly stealing official documents from the Petroleum ministry, to the site of the crime to check the access they had to the building.

The five persons, including two junior employees of oil ministry, were taken to the rooms of senior officials which they had allegedly accessed using duplicate keys.

The rooms that they had allegedly accessed in the middle of the night to steal official documents included rooms of joint secretary (Refineries) and joint secretary (Exploration), besides rooms of some directors.

Cracking down on a suspected case of corporate espionage, police had yesterday arrested two Oil Ministry officials, a Reliance Industries (RIL) staffer and two other middlemen for allegedly leaking classified government documents to energy companies for money.

The bunch of keys found in the possession of the five arrested persons were used to open the rooms of top ministry officials they had allegedly accessed, police sources said.

The rooms they had allegedly accessed included that of Special Secretary, two joint secretaries and some directors dealing with sensitives issues like exploration policy, petroleum pricing and gas pricing.

Sources said the ministry was first alerted of the theft of official documents some months back when some critical documents with the then Joint Secretary (Exploration) Giridhar Armane, were found in a photocopier machine when rooms were opened in the morning. The ministry internally probed the issue.

The door of Director Prashant S Lokhande was found compromised about two months back following which the ministry ordered a through investigation and CCTV cameras were installed.

The crime branch caught Asharam, 58, and Ishwar Singh, 56, who were employed as multi tasking staff in the ministry, along with three of their accomplices.

Those arrested included Lalta Prasad and Rakesh Kumar, brothers and son of Asharam, who were previously employed as multi tasking staff at Shastri Bhawan.

Talking to reporters, Asharam said, “I am innocent” and his sons were to be blamed for the incident.

As crime branch officials whisked him away, he said, “I came to know of this on February 17. I have not done anything. Mera beta zimvewar hai (my son is responsible).”

Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said he wants the guilty to be brought to book and would comment only after the investigation is complete.

“Let the investigation be over. No one will be spared,” he said.

Sources said the accused allegedly used fake ID cards to gain access to Shastri Bhawan, the building that houses the Petroleum Ministry, in the middle of the night.

They would use the duplicate keys to open rooms of senior officials and photocopy secret official documents for sale to corporates and consultancy firms.

The rooms that they had alleged accessed to steal official documents included rooms of Special Secretary Rajive Kumar, Joint Secretary (Refineries) Sandeep Poundrik,

Joint Secretary (Exploration) U P Singh and Director (Exploration-1) Nalin Kumar Srivastava among others. Sources said the locks of all the rooms are being changed and security and vigilance enhanced.

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