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Three more Ministries hit by info leak

Delhi police arrest one more person, six being questioned

The official secrets smuggling case on Monday spread to three more Ministries — Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy — as the Delhi Police found out that documents from these ministries were also being leaked and sold off. The police on Monday arrested one Lokesh Sharma, with links to two of the accused under arrest Santanu Saikia and Prayas Jain and kicked off investigations as a parallel case. They filed fresh FIR under Sections of fraud, forgery, trespass and others.

Sources hinted that more arrests were likely as searches and raids were continuing in Delhi and NCR.

So far, the Delhi Police have arrested 12 persons in connection with theft of documents from the Petroleum Ministry. Both Mr. Saikia and Mr. Jain bought documents from Sharma at hefty prices. The police were probing his links with two-three other companies as well.

“While investigating the documents theft in the Petroleum Ministry, we got information that similar thefts have been happening in other ministries as well. Following this lead, we mounted our surveillance and arrested Sharma for procuring documents from the Coal and Power Ministries. He used to buy secret documents from lower rung employees in these ministries and then sell them off to different companies,” said a senior police officer. Six persons, including employees at the Shastri Bhawan who reportedly provided documents to him, are being questioned.

Sharma worked for a private energy consultancy and had sources in the ministries from where he procured documents. He developed these links as his father worked as a driver in the ministry earlier, though he himself never worked in any of the ministries. He has been involved in illegally procuring documents for the last three-four years, the police said.

Two forged identity cards of the Ministries of Coal and Power and copies of various official/secret documents were seized from his possession.

The police are now looking into the financial transactions of the people arrested so far to understand the money trail and identify the individuals or companies which benefited in the case, sources said.

Speaking at a pre-budget event in New Delhi, Power Minister Piyush Goyal said the investigators were working to find out since when corporate espionage been on. At the same event, Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said: “No one, no matter how powerful, is above the law.”

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