Theweekendleader

Former reporter held in petroleum ministry case

New Delhi

20-February-2015

A former journalist with an energy consultant has been arrested in connection with the petroleum ministry document leakage case, police said Friday, adding that some more people would be arrested soon.

Santanu Saikia, who runs a web portal and covered crime stories for several years, was arrested early Friday for his alleged role in providing secret documents of the petroleum ministry to corporate houses.

Prayas Jain, a Melbourne-based energy consultant, was also arrested Friday.

Delhi Police chief B.S. Bassi said that Saikia and Jain, both ran some sort of an independent website where they uploaded the analysis of the stolen documents.

"...And this information was further used by corporate houses. They also shared this information with some individuals in return of money," Bassi told reporters.

Bassi, however, refused to reveal the names of the organisations who benefitted from this. He said: "It will not be good to reveal the names of these organisations as the investigation is still on."

The Delhi Police Thursday arrested five people, including two employees of the petroleum ministry and three others, for stealing documents and leaking them to corporate houses.

Rakesh Kumar, 30, Lalta Prasad, 36, both brothers and residents of Delhi, and Raj Kumar Chaubey, 39, a resident of Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, were held red-handed with the photocopy of some secret documents in Shastri Bhawan Feb 17.

Based on information provided by them, government employees - Asharam, 58, and Ishwar Singh, 56 - were also arrested. They were part of multi-tasking staff (MTS) in Shastri Bhawan.

Police Thursday said Kumar and Prasad were former MTS employees, while Chaubey was their associate who never worked at Shastri Bhawan.

The police chief said the initial investigation revealed that some individuals who were provided these documents also worked with some corporate companies.

"The arrested people (Kumar and Prasad) did not steal particular documents, they instead used to lift any document lying on the table," he said.

The theft of the documents had been taking place in the office of the ministry located in the high-security Shastri Bhawan near parliament house.

All the seven arrested have been charged under sections of stealing, forgery, trespass and criminal conspiracy, Bassi said.

When asked if the accused will be booked under the Official Secrets Act, he said: "We will first check with the petroleum ministry if these documents come under the purview of secret documents. Only then we will lodge a case under the Official Secrets Act."

Asked if other people could be questioned in connection with the case, he said "relevant people will be questioned".

All the arrested would be produced in the Patiala House court Friday.

Bassi said that if the probing officials find it necessary, they will seek remand of the accused.

Earlier, the crime branch took the five accused to Shastri Bhawan to recreate the scene. - IANS