Corporate links revealed; More arrests likely in spy scam

February 21, 2015 01:28 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:31 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Representatives of five top business houses were arrested by the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police late on Friday in connection with the corporate espionage syndicate.

Shailesh Saxena, manager, corporate affairs, Reliance Industries Ltd., Vinay Kumar, deputy general manager, Essar group, K.K. Naik, general manager, Cairn India, Subhash Chandra, senior executive, Jubilant Energy, and Rishi Anand, deputy general manager, Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group are the arrested. While Jubilant did not respond to emailed queries or text messages, RIL and Essar had earlier confirmed that their employees were being questioned. Cairn India and ADAG declined to comment.

More arrests

The Delhi Police said here on Friday that the list of accused in the Oil Ministry spy scam could expand, as the role of another energy consultancy firm and international entity was being examined. Nearly 25 people, including government and corporate employees, have been quizzed for their suspected involvement in the racket.

Sources said energy consultant and former journalist Santanu Saikia, who was arrested along with another energy consultant, Prayas Jain, earlier in the day, had purportedly disclosed that he had been accessing sensitive government documents since 2005-06. “He expressed surprise that the government agencies had now woken up to the prevailing practice of feeding inside information to corporate entities,” said an official.

He revealed that some of the accessed documents were shared on a public portal, a website Mr. Saikia had been running. The police are verifying the antecedents of the subscribers to Saikia’s website, which provided extensive trend reports on India’s energy sector. The arrested government staffers have told the interrogators that the practice of leaking government documents to corporates for pecuniary benefits had been prevalent in several Ministries for long. “The arrested employees said they had been supplying documents to corporates for over two years. They disclosed that it has been going on for over a decade, saying only characters change with time,” said the source.

Earlier in 1998, a Reliance employee had figured in a case of theft of confidential government information. It is pending in Delhi High Court.

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