Locksmiths tracked down, deny role in espionage

Three locksmiths who had apparently made duplicate keys that helped some persons steal documents from various ministries in the “corporate espionage” case were tracked down by a Delhi Police team on Sunday.

The three were taken to the Crime Branch office in Chanakyapuri where they were questioned at length to ascertain if they were aware of the alleged theft. Sources said that while these men agreed they had manufactured some duplicate keys for two of the arrested suspects, they denied having any knowledge of the purpose.

The locksmiths’ statements have been recorded and they are likely to serve as witnesses in the case, said the source. Two arrested suspects Rakesh Kumar and Lalta Prasad had duplicate keys for seven rooms, including that of the Special Secretary, two Joint Secretaries and some other senior officials.

Rakesh and Lalta are among 12 persons arrested so far for either stealing documents from various ministries or receiving them. Police said the two were going about the photocopying job by themselves without any help from any intermediate level employee who could tell them which papers were relevant and which not.

“Rakesh and Lalta would indiscriminately photocopy every paper without checking which would be useful for the two energy consultants who were passing them to some others. These consultants were left with the job of sifting the useful papers from the useless ones,” said an officer associated with the probe.

But the tedious process led to Rakesh and Lalta forgetting an important document atop the photo copying machine. The officer said that this goof up led police to arrest the duo after a senior official’s room was found compromised.

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