Corporate espionage case: Defence Ministry staff sent to police custody, 5 in judicial custody

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New Delhi | February 25, 2015 9:10 AM

A Defence Ministry staff member, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the corporate espionage case...

Petroleum Ministry, Petroleum Ministry leak, petroleum ministry documents, Delhi Police, corporate espionage, Delhi courtAccused produced in Patiala House Court who involved in the Corporate espionage in the Petroleum Ministry scandal in New Delhi. Express Photo by Praveen Khanna

A Defence Ministry staff member, who was arrested for his alleged involvement in the corporate espionage case, was on Tuesday remanded to one-day police custody by a Delhi court which also sent the five corporate executives to nine-day judicial custody.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (CMM) Sanjay Khanagwal sent Defence Ministry’s house-keeping staff member Virender Kumar to police custody till tomorrow after the crime branch of Delhi Police sought his custodial interrogation to find out about his role in the case.

The crime branch officials told the court that Kumar was arrested yesterday night for allegedly stealing an identity card of an auditor at Indian Defence Accounts Service and providing the same to one of the accused, Lalta Prasad, in the case.

The crime branch officials said that Kumar had stolen the I-card and then forged it to pass it on to Prasad who used it to secure entry in various ministries.

The CMM asked police whether any documents were recovered from Kumar’s possession and why his police custody was needed.

To this, the crime branch official said no documents were found but it is yet to be ascertained whether he supplied similar forged I-card to other people or not for which his custody is needed.

Five corporate executives–Shailesh Saxena from RIL, Vinay Kumar from Essar, K K Naik from Cairns India, Subhash Chandra from Jubilant Energy and Rishi Anand from Reliance ADAG– who were in police custody till today, were sent to judicial custody till March 5 after the crime branch officials said their custody was not required as of now.

The court asked the police if any new recoveries have been made from the five accused, to which the Investigating Officer (IO) replied in negative. During the hearing, the counsel for the accused moved applications seeking medical facilities in jail for their clients who claimed to be suffering from various ailments.

Senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, appearing for Saxena, said that his client complained of urinary bleeding during police custody and was taken to hospital where several tests were conducted.

Gupta and counsel for the other four accused also alleged that their clients were beaten in police custody and made to sign blank papers.

The court then issued a notice to jail superintendent saying “file report within 48 hours about the medical condition of the five accused. Direction also issued to provide necessary facilities to accused in jail till further order.”

The IO of the case also produced the medical report of all the accused executives and of the tests conducted at Lok Nayak hospital here.

The CMM, after going through the reports, found that Saxena was suffering from urinary bleeding problem.

Regarding the complaint of accused regarding being beaten and coerced to sign blank papers, the CMM asked the counsel to move an appropriate application for their examination.

On February 21, the court had sent Shailesh Saxena Vinay Kumar from Essar, K K Naik, Subhash Chandra and Rishi Anand to three-day police custody for interrogation after police had alleged materials recovered from them show “national security was taken for a ride.”

The CMM had allowed the police to quiz them in their custody till today as the police had said charges under the Official Secrets Act(OSA) might also be invoked in the matter.

Saxena is Manager, Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Limited(RIL); Chandra is senior executive, Jubilant Energy; Anand is DGM, Reliance ADAG; Vinay is DGM, Essar and Naik is GM, Cairns India.

According to the police, the five accused used to procure documents from arrested accused Lalta Prasad and Rakesh, and they used to pay them. These documents were then supplied to the companies by these officials to benefit the firm.

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