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Corporate espionage: Ministry yet to clarify on stolen papers

Although the Delhi Police on Saturday filed a charge sheet against 13 persons for alleged theft and sale of classified government papers, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is yet to clarify whether the theft also amounted to violation of the Official Secrets Act.

The police have chargesheeted the accused persons under various provisions of the Indian Penal Code. “We have not received a proper reply from the Petroleum Ministry on applicability of the Official Secrets Act provisions in the case,” said a police officer.

The Petroleum Ministry has told the court that eight documents seized from the accused were classified in nature and they were not available in the public domain.

“We will seek permission from the court to continue further investigations in the case registered in connection with the theft of Petroleum Ministry papers. We have filed the first charge sheet within the stipulated time period,” said the officer.

The Crime Branch has registered another case pertaining to alleged theft of documents from the Coal and the Power Ministry. In all, 16 people have been arrested in both the cases.

The police had earlier seized two boxes full of confidential documents on petrol, coal and power from the South Delhi residence of former journalist Santanu Saikia, the main accused.

During investigations, they also seized copies of a letter of the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nripendra Misra and files from the Oil Ministry’s exploration wing.

Photocopy of documents with input material on National Gas Grid for inclusion in the Finance Minister’s budget speech 2015-16, and copies of minutes of a Cabinet meeting on disinvestment, and a document on Customs and Excise duties for the oil products sector were also seized.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 3:56:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/corporate-espionage-ministry-yet-to-clarify-on-stolen-papers/article7117352.ece

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