Oil Ministry leak National

Saikia sold info, says ex-official

Former journalist Santanu Saikia, arrested in connection with the leakage of official documents from the Petroleum Ministry, being produced in a court in New Delhi on Saturday.  

In a startling disclosure, Mohan Guruswamy, who was adviser to former Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha, said on Saturday that former journalist Santanu Saikia had managed to publish excerpts of an official note on Maruti’s disinvestment within a day of it being written. “All government documents are available for sale,” he posted on Facebook.

Mr. Saikia, arrested in connection with the leakage of official documents from the Petroleum Ministry, had published the note in the Financial Express a day after Mr. Guruswamy had written it, according to the post.

“Means he got it the same day I wrote it… Since I typed it on my word processor, he got it somewhere between my staff who took it to make it official with number, etc, and its travel to the Finance Minister.”

Mr. Guruswamy said that he informed an intelligence official known to him about the leak. He wrote that the official, after checking the details of the incident, recommended a ban on the entry of Mr. Saikia into the Finance Ministry as “his main business was in selling official papers rather than using them to write articles.”

However, Mr. Guruswamy said, the then Expenditure Secretary did not act on his recommendation to restrict Mr. Saikia’s entry. The Hindu could not contact Mr. Guruswamy for comment.

Mr. Guruswamy was appointed in the Finance Ministry with the rank and status of a Secretary. In February 1999, he was sacked from the post. The official reason given was that he had “exceeded his brief.”

Mr. Guruswamy also wrote about another incident in which the top management of Boeing returned to the Centre documents setting up standards and requirements for India’s biggest defence contract. The documents had landed up at the company’s headquarters.

As strict U.S. laws cover corrupt practices overseas, the top management sent the papers to India and also fired its local managers responsible for it, wrote Mr. Guruswamy. “But the French had no qualms in taking Mirage 2000 related papers obtained for it by Coomar Narain.”

“Every now and then one or two get caught, the newspapers, many of whose reporters function as the private sector’s field intelligence agents, feign shock and soon it is business as usual… Let’s not forget how editors of loss-making newspapers and magazines end up with luxury homes in South Delhi and farm houses in Chattarpur… They trade in information and not everything reaches their readers, but ends up as ‘For your eyes only’ stuff for their corporate clients and financiers,” he wrote in the post.

Mr. Guruswamy did his Masters in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and an advance management programme at the Graduate Business School of Stanford University.

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Printable version | Mar 3, 2021 12:08:26 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/oil-ministry-espionage-saikia-sold-info-says-exofficial/article6920219.ece

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