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Ex-journalist Shantanu Saikia arrested

By The Assam Tribune
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NEW DELHI, Feb 20 � The sensational corporate espionage scandal got murkier today with the arrest of two energy consultants, as confidential documents, including an input for the ensuing Finance Minister�s Budget Speech, were allegedly leaked in the whole operation, reports PTI.

The alleged pilfering of �secret� documents, which was thought to have been a racket confined to the Petroleum Ministry, actually covered matters in Finance, Coal and Power ministries, Delhi Police said today.

After yesterday�s arrest of five people, including two Oil Ministry staffers and three middlemen, two energy consultants � Santanu Saikia, a former journalist, now running a petro web portal and Prayas Jain � were arrested today as they were suspected to be the receivers of the stolen documents. Jain runs his consultancy firm at Patel Nagar in Central Delhi.

�We have arrested two people. One of them is Santanu Saikia and the other is Prayas Jain. Both are some sort of independent consultants. One of them (Saikia) runs a website where he would run his analysis and people would subscribe to it. These two have been arrested and investigation is on,� Police Commissioner BS Bassi said.

The case FIR, produced in a local court, said an input on the National Gas Grid for the Finance Minister�s Budget Speech of 2015-16 is among the various �secret� documents recovered from the accused.

Besides, police also recovered a letter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra, according to the FIR in the case presented to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal, who heard the proceedings for remand of the accused.

�Photocopies of documents with heading include material on National Gas Grid for inclusion in Finance Minister�s Budget Speech 2015-16,� the Crime Branch has said in its FIR filed in the case. Police alleged that �incriminating� documents of the Coal, Power and other ministries were recovered from the possession of the accused who were supplying these to certain corporate houses for benefit.

All the seven were produced before Khanagwal, who remanded Lalta Prasad and Rajesh Kumar (Oil Ministry staffers) and Jain and Saikia to police custody till February 23 after police said �sensitive� documents have been recovered.

Bassi said that the police was investigating what kind of linkages these individuals had with companies. �Until we are sure whether there is an organisation involved, naming a company will not be appropriate,� he told reporters who sought the name of the company allegedly involved in the racket.

A bunch of keys, allegedly found in their possession, were used to open the rooms of top ministry officials, police sources said. The rooms they had allegedly accessed included that of Special Secretary, two Joint Secretaries and some directors dealing with sensitive issues like exploration policy, petroleum pricing and gas pricing.

Sources said the ministry was first alerted about the theft of official documents some months ago when some critical documents with the then Joint Secretary (Exploration) Giridhar Armane, were found in a photocopier machine when rooms were opened in the morning. The ministry internally probed the issue.

The door of Director Prashant S Lokhande was found compromised about two months back following which the ministry ordered a through investigation and CCTV cameras were installed.

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Ex-journalist Shantanu Saikia arrested

NEW DELHI, Feb 20 � The sensational corporate espionage scandal got murkier today with the arrest of two energy consultants, as confidential documents, including an input for the ensuing Finance Minister�s Budget Speech, were allegedly leaked in the whole operation, reports PTI.

The alleged pilfering of �secret� documents, which was thought to have been a racket confined to the Petroleum Ministry, actually covered matters in Finance, Coal and Power ministries, Delhi Police said today.

After yesterday�s arrest of five people, including two Oil Ministry staffers and three middlemen, two energy consultants � Santanu Saikia, a former journalist, now running a petro web portal and Prayas Jain � were arrested today as they were suspected to be the receivers of the stolen documents. Jain runs his consultancy firm at Patel Nagar in Central Delhi.

�We have arrested two people. One of them is Santanu Saikia and the other is Prayas Jain. Both are some sort of independent consultants. One of them (Saikia) runs a website where he would run his analysis and people would subscribe to it. These two have been arrested and investigation is on,� Police Commissioner BS Bassi said.

The case FIR, produced in a local court, said an input on the National Gas Grid for the Finance Minister�s Budget Speech of 2015-16 is among the various �secret� documents recovered from the accused.

Besides, police also recovered a letter of Prime Minister Narendra Modi�s Principal Secretary Nripendra Misra, according to the FIR in the case presented to Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal, who heard the proceedings for remand of the accused.

�Photocopies of documents with heading include material on National Gas Grid for inclusion in Finance Minister�s Budget Speech 2015-16,� the Crime Branch has said in its FIR filed in the case. Police alleged that �incriminating� documents of the Coal, Power and other ministries were recovered from the possession of the accused who were supplying these to certain corporate houses for benefit.

All the seven were produced before Khanagwal, who remanded Lalta Prasad and Rajesh Kumar (Oil Ministry staffers) and Jain and Saikia to police custody till February 23 after police said �sensitive� documents have been recovered.

Bassi said that the police was investigating what kind of linkages these individuals had with companies. �Until we are sure whether there is an organisation involved, naming a company will not be appropriate,� he told reporters who sought the name of the company allegedly involved in the racket.

A bunch of keys, allegedly found in their possession, were used to open the rooms of top ministry officials, police sources said. The rooms they had allegedly accessed included that of Special Secretary, two Joint Secretaries and some directors dealing with sensitive issues like exploration policy, petroleum pricing and gas pricing.

Sources said the ministry was first alerted about the theft of official documents some months ago when some critical documents with the then Joint Secretary (Exploration) Giridhar Armane, were found in a photocopier machine when rooms were opened in the morning. The ministry internally probed the issue.

The door of Director Prashant S Lokhande was found compromised about two months back following which the ministry ordered a through investigation and CCTV cameras were installed.