Free Press Journal

Highways Ministry has nothing to hide: Nitin Gadkari


Nitin Gadkari

New Delhi: Amid corporate espionage scandal getting thicker, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari today said his ministries are “zero corruption” zones and there is nothing to hide. The functioning of both the ministries is “transparent” and aimed at disseminating more information to people, Gadkari told PTI.

“Our Ministry is fully transparent. Any one can see it. We don’t indulge in wrong practices. There is zero corruption in our Ministries. We have nothing to hide, rather we want to provide information,” he said, adding that no work contract was awarded by the concerned ministries without any tender or e-tender.

He, however, said that let the enquiry into leakage of Petroleum Ministry’s confidential documents be complete, adding that some people indulge in such kind of activities. Five senior executives from top energy firms and two consultants were among those arrested yesterday in corporate espionage scandal in which classified documents, including an input from Finance Minister’s budget speech, were allegedly leaked.

A total of 12 people have been arrested in the case so far.The defence counsel contended that there was nothing to be recovered from their clients and the police have not told the court about the specific allegations against the accused. During the arguments, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for RIL’s Saxena, opposed the contentions of police saying his client was “illegally detained” since February 18.

“They cannot take the court for ride. They have to follow the prescribed procedure. Saxena was taken away from his office on February 18. CCTV camera installed in his office should be seen,” he said. Gupta further contended that case diary has not been paginated which was against the prescribed procedure and the police has failed to show any specific allegation against any of the five accused.

“Media has written so many things which are not before the court. From where the press is getting this information? Are they (police) leaking it?” he said adding the police should first satisfy the court as to why police custody was required.

The counsel appearing for Naik argued that there was nothing more which was required to be seized or recovered from his client who was also “illegally detained” by the police. Similarly, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Essar’s Vinay Kumar, said that on February 18 the police searched the office of his client and Kumar was called to the crime branch office the next day and since then he was being “illegally detained” by the police.

The counsel appearing for Rishi said that there were no specific grounds on which the accused have been arrested and Rishi was detained by the police officials since February 19. The lawyer representing Chandra said that no incriminating documents have been seized from his client and he has been detained since February 19.

Countering the submissions of the defence counsel, the IO said that the accused were not detained illegally and they
were arrested yesterday only. He also said that case diary was in proper paginated form. The IO said these five accused used to procure documents from arrested accused Lalta Prasad and Rakesh, who were produced before the court yesterday, and they used to pay them. These documents were then supplied to the companies by these officials to benefit the firm.

“They used to know about the government policy in advance. We have to analyse about their acts as to how they were extending benefits to their companies,” the IO said.He said that senior company officials were aware of it and the arrested accused were doing it at the behest of their senior executives.

The police said the accused have to be confronted with each other and with the documents and they have to take them to various places for further investigation. On the arrest of its employee, Essar Oil spokesperson said “we have noted with concern that one of our employees has been arrested by the authorities.

“Essar is a law-abiding corporate following a zero tolerance policy towards acts which are against the law of the land. The company reiterates that neither it has directly nor has it authorised anybody to conduct any acts not in compliance with law,” the statement said.

Reliance Industries spokesperson, on the arrest of its employee, said “we have been informed through the media that one personnel has been arrested. We are ascertaining more details through a robust internal inquiry to understand the role of this personnel.” With the arrest of these five accused, the total number of arrests in the case rose to 12. Seven others were produced in the court yesterday, out of whom four were sent to police custody till February 23 and three were remanded to judicial custody for two weeks.

According to police, these five company executives were receivers of stolen documents recovered by police teams during raids on their establishments. They have been booked under IPC sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property).