Free Press Journal

Two more officials held in corporate espionage case


Corporate espionage accused

New Delhi: The corporate espionage trail deepened today with the Delhi Police arresting two officials of the Environment Ministry and UPSC even as investigators said that no official documents have been stolen from these two organisations. What has alarmed the Crime Branch officials is that the duo have said that they have been involved in this business since the last 15 years. Police have detained some more persons for questioning in this regard and more arrests are likely in the case.

“Jitender Nagpal (40), PS to Joint Secretary in Forest and Environment ministry and Vipan Kumar (42), PA to a UPSC member were arrested late last night. “Kumar had joined service as a Stenographer Grade D in Ministry of Petroleum in 1996 where he served till 2010. He has been getting documents stolen from there either himself or with the help of his contacts,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Ravindra Yadav. Nagpal had also joined service as a Stenographer D in 1994 in the Ministry of Law & Justice. He has mostly served in Ministry of Law from 1994-2007, with a short stint of two years (2001-03) in Ministry of Chemical & Fertilisers. He used to procure the documents from Vipan Kumar, Lokesh Sharma and others, he added.

According to police, both of them have disclosed that they were indulging in this illegal activity since many years. They shared a common e-mail ID which was being used to forward documents to some of their clients. They were produced in a local court and have been remanded to 5 days police custody. The two were arrested under the second FIR in which five people were named earlier including Lokesh Sharma, an energy consultant of Noida-based Infraline consultancy firm who was apprehended on Monday by the Crime Branch busting the second module in the corporate espionage case.

Sources said that the names of these two cropped up during the questioning of Lokesh following which they were picked up. Once police recovered evidence against the two, they were arrested late last night. Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi told media that the duo had been dealing with documents related to Petroleum Ministry and police so far has not come to know that any documents from Ministry of Environment and Forest or UPSC were stolen.

“As of now it has not come to fore that documents were stolen from these two organisations. They have linkages with the Petroleum Ministry where one of them worked earlier,” he said. Bassi also ruled out that their superior officials in the ministry were involved in the case and whether police will question them.

“The interrogation so far does not point toward any involvement of the officers to whom they were attached to and as of now we don’t need to question them,” he added. Sources said that with the arrest of the duo, at least two more consultancy firms have come under police scanner and raids are being conducted to nab their proprietors who are on the run. So far three consultancy firms, one each related to Santanu Saikia, Prayas Jain and Lokesh Sharma have been found involved in the racket.

“They have told us about some consultancy firms. They gave documents to these consultancy firms, one of which has already come in our notice. We are looking into this matter and are trying to corroborate things in this matter,” said Bassi. Role of some other persons is being examined and thorough investigation into all aspects is in progress, police said.

Cracking down on a suspected case of corporate espionage, Delhi Police had on last Thursday arrested two junior Oil Ministry officials and three other middlemen for allegedly leaking classified government documents to energy companies. On Friday, two energy consultants Santanu Saikia and Prayas Jain and five senior executives from top energy firms identified as Shailesh Saxena from RIL, Vinay Kumar from Essar, KK Naik from Cairns, Subhash Chandra from Jubilant Energy and Rishi Anand from ADAG Reliance were arrested.

Virendra Kumar, a casual worker in the Defence Ministry, was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly providing forged identity card to a key accused in the first FIR in which documents were leaked from the Petroleum Ministry.