Indian ministry workers arrested in oil doc theft

20 February 2015, News Wires – Two employees from the Indian Petroleum Ministry are among seven people arrested by the Delhi police in a major crackdown on corporate espionage in the country’s Petroleum Ministry, which allegedly involved leaking official documents to corporate houses.

Handcuffs.arrestThe police have alleged confidential documents were being stolen from the Petroleum Ministry’s office located in Shastri Bhawan, believed to be a high security complex.

“Investigations further revealed that the stolen documents were being sold to some individual of private energy consultancy companies,” as well as to those in the petrochemical or energy industry, a statement by police said.

Besides the two employees from the Indian Petroleum Ministry, Prayas Jain, an energy consultant and Santanu Saikia, a former journalist who runs an oil industry website have also been arrested, local media reports have claimed.

The Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi has alleged the official documents from the Indian Petroleum Ministry were being passed on to some corporate houses in return for rewards. The police has vowed strong action against the culprits.

“All those who are recipients of stolen documents will be questioned and action taken. If the documents fall under the purview of the Official Secrets Act, then the relevant sections will also be imposed,” Bassi told reporters in New Delhi.

An employee of Indian private sector giant Reliance Industries has also been detained by the Delhi Police, reports suggested.

Reliance has said that it has launched a “robust internal probe” into detention of one of its employees, media reports claimed.

“It has been brought to our notice that one personnel has been detained by law-enforcement authorities. We are unaware of more details. As per SOP, a robust internal probe is underway,” a company official was quoted by the Indian media.

The arrests come months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration installed closed circuit TV cameras to prevent people sneaking out of the ministry with documents of interest to big corporations competing for lucrative oil blocks.



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