Govt closer to root of corporate espionage case

Govt closer to root of corporate espionage case

Getting closer to the root of the corporate espionage case, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has received information about seven official rooms in the Petroleum Ministry at Shastri Bhavan, from where highly classified documents were clandestinely leaked.

The Delhi Police revealed that the PMO has got the mapping of these seven rooms, which are suspected to have been the nerve centres of the corporate espionage case.

The PMO also sought details like the names of the people who occupied these rooms, including senior officers, their personal staff members and regular visitors to ascertain the extent of penetration of the lower babus-corporate nexus.

Among the seven rooms, two each were occupied by additional secretary and joint secretary-level officers, one by a deputy secretary and another by the staff of a joint secretary, police sources said.

A senior Delhi police officer said they have also shared an update on the espionage case to the PMO given that the corporate liaison employees network was spread across energy ministries.

The need for a security audit of government departments emerged after chinks were exposed by the Delhi Police, which had registered cases against five corporates representatives from RIL, Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group (ADAG) Essar, Cairn India and Jubliant Energy for purchasing top-secret documents from lower level officials.
Though the petroleum ministry has CCTV installed in its offices, the operational control was not with the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) but their own vigilance department.

Every evening vigilance department officials would leave the keys with multi-tasking staff, who would use the CCTV control room to drink and play cards, police sources stated.
They would switch off cameras when sensitive documents were taken out of files and sold to corporate fixers during odd hours.

Delhi Police sources argued that if the CISF, which guards access points to Shashtri Bhavan, was monitoring CCTV, it would have been difficult to sneak papers since they remain alert round the clock.

Shockingly, Virender Kumar, a housekeeping member at the Director General Defence Audit Service, was selling duplicate government identity cards for people to enter the Petroleum Ministry. The police is now trying to ascertain who these cards were being sold to.

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