In a case of corporate espionage, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police has arrested five men for alleged theft and sale of official secrets of the Oil Ministry to private corporate entities in the petrochemical sector. A Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) official and another person have been detained.
The arrested include two serving and two former employees at Shastri Bhavan, where the Ministry’s office functions. The fifth drove them to the building on Tuesday night, when the arrests took place, using a forged Government of India sticker on the car.
The arrested have been identified as Lalta Prasad, 36, Rakesh Kumar, 30, and Raj Kumar Chaubey, 39, and Asharam and Ishwar Singh, the serving multitasking staff.
Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said strong action would be taken against the two employees of the Ministry.
A senior police officer involved in the operation told The Hindu on Thursday that the papers seized from the arrested included confidential documents on pricing and policy and notings.
Soon after Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi announced the arrests, a Reliance official said one of its personnel had been detained and an internal investigation was under way at the company.
It was determined to cooperate with the police. “We are already in international arbitration with the said [petroleum] Ministry on all important matters,” he said.
RIL is the Centre’s contractor for the Krishna Godavari basin’s KG-D6 gas fields. Following a tip-off, the police laid a trap near Shastri Bhavan and nabbed the suspects.
“The three had arrived in an Indigo car … two of them alighted and went inside, while the third remained in the car. After two hours, when the two boarded the car again, all three were arrested,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav.
At their instance, two others -- Asharam and Ishwar Singh, both serving Multi Tasking Staff at Shastri Bhawan – were also arrested.
“Two of the arrested told us that during their stint at Shastri Bhawan, they realized that they could easily lay hand on the official documents,” said Mr. Yadav.