Monday, December 11, 2023

Petroleum ministry leak: Executives sent to police custody, two offices raided

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Five corporate officials, arrested in the sensational petroleum ministry document leakage case, were Saturday sent to three days police custody by a court here even as police raided two places in the city as part of its investigations and Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that no one guilty will be spared.

Those sent to police custody till Feb 24 are RIL corporate affairs manager Shailesh Saxena, Jubilant Energy senior executive Subash Chandra, Reliance ADAG DGM Rishi Anand, Essar DGM Vinay and Cairns India GM K.K. Naik.

All were arrested Friday and booked under sections dealing with criminal conspiracy and use of stolen property. Their arrest took to 12 the number of those behind bars in the case.

The court had Friday sent three of the seven other accused to judicial custody for 14 days. The remaining four had been sent to police custody of three days.

The espionage case in the heart of the national capital assumed a wider dimension Friday after police complaint said the papers stolen included inputs for the forthcoming union budget and a letter relating to the prime minister’s office.

The documents also related to the power and coal ministries, police said.

Former journalist Santanu Saikia, who is among the arrested, said Saturday it was a Rs.10,000 crore scam.

“It’s a Rs.10,000 crore scam and it was a cover up,” Saikia told reporters outside the Crime Branch office here, while being taken to court.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal lauded police for cracking the case and advised it to trace those who had benefited from leaked information.”Compliments Delhi police for bursting espionage racket. During interrogations, police should try to reach top people, who would benefit from leaked information,” he tweeted Saturday.

Police had Thursday announced arrest of five people, including two petroleum ministry employees, for stealing documents from the ministry office located in the high-security Shastri Bhawan near the Parliament House complex, and leaking them to corporate houses.

Saikia and Prayas Jain, a Melbourne-based energy consultant, were arrested Friday. Later in the day, the five executives were arrested.

Police Saturday raided the Patel Nagar office of Jain and Chandra’s office in Noida.

Police officials said that Chandra’s office and some other rooms were searched to recover stolen documents.

They also said that Saxena had in his possession some documents relating to “national importance and security” and these had been passed by him to his seniors.

All documents seized are “sensitive”, an official said.

Rajnath Singh told reporters that strong action will be taken and no guilty person would be spared.

“We should be commended as we found out that this was happening, the culprits will be punished,” he told reporters.”If we would have not been vigilant, this (scandal) would not have been busted,” he added.

Rakesh Kumar, 30, Lalta Prasad, 36 – both brothers and residents of Delhi, and Raj Kumar Chaubey, 39, a resident of Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, were held red-handed with photocopies of some secret documents in Shastri Bhawan Feb 17.

Based on information provided by them, government employees Asharam, 58, and Ishwar Singh, 56 were also arrested. They were part of the multi-tasking staff (MTS) in Shastri Bhawan.

The FIR details how the “secret papers” were photocopied after office hours by Kumar and Prasad, who used duplicate keys to open offices after entering Shastri Bhawan with forged identity cards and temporary passes obtained fraudulently.

The photocopies were passed on to Saikia and Jain.

While Ishwar Singh, Asharam and Chaubey are in judicial custody, all others have been sent to police custody.

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