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MHA officer in custody; Chinese firms may have picked up info he leaked

In what is turning out to be a case of industrial espionage,investigators believe Ravi Inder Singh,the Director in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

In what is turning out to be a case of industrial espionage,investigators believe Ravi Inder Singh,the Director in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) who was detained by the Delhi Police on Monday,could have been leaking information to telecom companies through an acquaintance called Vineet. Sources said some of the information made available by the 1994-batch West Bengal cadre IAS officer to Vineet — who runs a food processing unit in Bengal — could have been accessed by Chinese companies doing business in India.

Sources said Singh was in constant touch with Vineet,who was acting as a “broker” on his behalf. Vineet was arrested by the Delhi Police Special Cell from a five-star hotel on Monday evening. During the five-month-long investigation by the Special Cell and the Intelligence Bureau,it was established that Singh was using five mobile phones,all of which have been recovered by the police,they added. The Delhi Police,which has been questioning Singh since Monday under Section 160 of the CrPC,placed him and Vineet under arrest late on Tuesday night. Singh has been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act and for criminal conspiracy. Singh allegedly leaked information relating to quotations to the companies apart from other vital details related to contracts and minutes of meetings,said the sources. Senior MHA officials realised something was wrong after they found secret information making its way to some companies. “He used five phones,including one which was official. He never called any executive of private telecom companies to his office in North Block. Instead,he used to operate through Vineet,who has been taken into custody,” said a source. Singh was using a string of code names. Sources said the money deals were done by Singh in five-star hotels. The police are now analysing the officer’s laptop,pen drives and documents. Two property documents have also been recovered from him.

Officials said Singh “passed on sensitive information to two companies recently”. These companies had their application related to security clearance in connection with mobile number portability pending with the ministry,said the sources. “Though Singh was not in a position to give security clearance to any company,he could have facilitated such clearance by giving favourable inputs to higher officials,” said the source.

Singh was reportedly handling almost 5,000 security-related cases in the telecom,mining,shipping and surface transport sectors and it is being investigated to whom he was leaking the information,said the sources. MHA’s Secretary (Internal Security) U K Bansal said the incident is “very serious” and a “matter of grave concern”.

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First published on: 24-11-2010 at 04:15 IST
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