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China surveillance: Key PMO officers, state Chief Secys, DGPs among 370-plus officials tracked

Among bureaucrats working under the PM are Amarjeet Sinha, appointed adviser in the PMO this year; Sumita Misra, Joint Secretary, PM’s Economic Council; and Ashish Kumar, Private Secretary to Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO.

Written by Kaunain Sheriff M | New Delhi |
Updated: September 16, 2020 7:01:14 pm
China surveillance: Key PMO officers, state Chief Secys, DGPs among 370-plus officials trackedThe bureaucrats being monitored cut across cadre and seniority, in both state and Central government departments, and are largely in key departments, including natural resources, infrastructure and urban development, finance, and law and order.

Key bureaucrats in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), IAS officers in infrastructure ministries, Chief Secretaries and Directors General of Police (DGPs) of states mark a strong presence in the Overseas Key Information DataBase of Zhenhua Data, an IT firm in Shenzhen, in China’s Guangdong province, which tracks about 2.5 million individuals across geographies, including at least 10,000 Indians.

There are at least 375 bureaucrats, most of them serving and a few retired, in the database.

Those tracked include at least half-a-dozen bureaucrats in the PMO, or in ministries directly under the Prime Minister; at least 23 Chief Secretaries; and 15 DGPs. These are some of the findings of an eight-week investigation by The Indian Express into a segment of the database made available by an anonymous source connected to the company, which has links with the Chinese government.

The bureaucrats being monitored cut across cadre and seniority, in both state and Central government departments, and are largely in key departments, including natural resources, infrastructure and urban development, finance, and law and order. Information commissioners with power to summon information from the government, and Chief Election Officers who oversaw funding and expenditure of political parties and candidates during recent elections are also targets.

Among bureaucrats working under the PM are Amarjeet Sinha, appointed adviser in the PMO this year; Sumita Misra, Joint Secretary, PM’s Economic Council; and Ashish Kumar, Private Secretary to Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in PMO.

Officers in key infrastructure ministries include Bidyut Behari Swain, Special Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, key to Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations, implementation of Foreign Trade Policy Statement, and matters of trade remedies, anti-dumping duties and subsidies; Shiv Meena, CMD, Housing & Urban Development Corporation Limited (HUDCO); Rajesh Aggarwal, Additional Secretary and Financial Advisor, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas; and Dharmendra Gangwar, Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Other serving civil servants in the database include:

* Archana Varma, Additional Secretary, Central Vigilance Commission

* T Sreekanth, Personal Secretary to G Kishan Reddy, MoS, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)

* Anil Malik, Additional Secretary (Foreigners), MHA

* D Rajkumar, CEO, Bharat Petroleum

* Vivek Bharadwaj, Additional Secretary (Police Modernisation), MHA

* Nidhi Chhibber, Joint Secretary & Acquisition Manager (Maritime Systems), MoD

* S Aparna, Executive Director, World Bank, Washington DC

* Anjana Dube, Deputy Director-General, Department of Financial Services

Also in the database are former Gujarat DGP P P Pandey, now discharged in the Ishrat Jahan alleged fake encounter case, and former Kerala DGP Siby Mathews, who investigated the 1994 ISRO spy case.

The database includes South Kashmir DIG Atul Goel, who arrested J&K DSP Davinder Singh, suspected to have links with ISI’s Punjab Militancy Unit; Vijay Bhushan, I-G, Uttar Pradesh, who served as SP, Shamli, during Muzaffarnagar riots; and Chandra Prakash, DG (Special Inquiries) UP.

Serving bureaucrats in the database from states include Temjen Toy, Chief Secretary, Nagaland; P Ravi Kumar, Additional Chief Secretary to Karnataka CM B S Yediyurappa; Awanish Kumar Awasthi, Additional Chief Secretary (Home), UP, and the state’s representative in Ram Janmabhoomi Tirtha Kshetra Trust; S Siddharth, Principal Secretary (Finance), Bihar, and former Secretary to CM Nitish Kumar.

Among former officers are Sumantha Chaudhuri, former Coal Secretary; Yudhvir Malik, former Chairman, NHAI; former CBEC member and finance expert with the UN Security Council Lipika Roy Choudhury; and Surjit Chaudhary, former Secretary, Chemical and Petrochemicals.

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