Five held for stealing, leaking petroleum ministry documents

By Sarkaritel February 20, 2015 11:05

Five held for stealing, leaking petroleum ministry documents

New Delhi, Feb 20  In a case that caused reverberations in political circles, Delhi Police Thursday said that it had arrested two employees of the petroleum ministry and three others for stealing official documents and leaking them to corporate houses.

The theft of the secret documents had been taking place in the office of the ministry located in high-security Shastri Bhavan, located a stone’s throw from the parliament house, and housing offices of several ministers.

Petroleum Minister Dharamendra Pradhan said that strict action will be taken against those involved in the case and they will be “severely dealt with”.

Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi said the “secret papers” were photocopied after office hours by the arrested who used duplicate keys to open the offices after entering Shastri Bhawan on forged identity cards and temporary passes obtained fraudulently. The documents were passed on to some corporate houses in return for rewards, he added.

“All those who are recipients of stolen documents will be questioned and action taken. If the documents fall under the purview of the Official Secrets Act, then the relevant sections will also be imposed,” he told reporters.

Sources said that the Crime Branch officials raided several private companies Thursday.

Bassi said that the two employees arrested by the Crime Branch were part of multi-tasking staff (MTS), while two were former staffers and one a driver who has not worked at the ministry.

“They were involved in the act for a long time,” he said, adding a case has been registered against the five for stealing, forgery, trespass and criminal conspiracy.

Bassi said three of the accused were arrested Tuesday night but this was kept under wraps so that the two government employees could be arrested.

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

On information provided by them, Asharam, 58, and Ishwar Singh, 56, were arrested.

“Kumar, Prasad and Chaubey had come in a car to Shastri Bhawan Tuesday night. Two of them went inside while the third remained in the car. After around two hours, when the two returned, we arrested all of them with the documents,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch), Ravindra Yadav.

“The car they were travelling in had an unauthorised sticker of the government of India,” he said.

The official said that Prasad and Kumar had quit as MTS staff 2012 and felt they could easily lay hand on the official documents.

He said the accused got alert as some CCTV cameras were installed at Shastri Bhawan recently, and to evade surveillance, they disabled the cameras on entering the building.

The stolen documents were “sold” to an individual of private energy consultancy company and to those in the petrochemical and energy industries, he said.

The Crime Branch officials are questioning the arrested to ascertain details about the companies.

Pradhan, who talked to various news channels, said that the surveillance at the ministry had been tightened by the National Democratic Alliance government and indicated such thefts had been taking place during the previous UPA government’s tenure.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asked if the government will review decisions that had benefited the corporate houses due to the leaked documents.

He also sought to know how long this was going on and how many documents were leaked, while demanding that the corporate houses who allegedly benefited from the leaked documents should be named.

Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson Sambit Patra said the government will get to the bottom of the matter.

By Sarkaritel February 20, 2015 11:05