New Delhi: Following the arrest of two officials associated with the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) and Department of Disinvestment of the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is hopeful of reaching a major breakthrough and unearthing larger conspiracy behind the corporate espionage case in the coming five days.

Investigating corporate espionage.Investigating corporate espionage.

Investigating corporate espionage.

A local court in New Delhi sent the officials identified as Ashok Kumar Singh, an under secretary in the Department of Disinvestment, and Lala Ram Sharma, a section officer in the Department of Economic Affairs, to five-day police custody. They allegedly leaked confidential and sensitive documents related to foreign investments from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to different corporate houses in exchange for heavy sums.

“The court has given us five-day police custody of the two accused and we are hopeful of extracting much needed information from them to reach a major breakthrough in the case,” CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad told Firstpost.

At the same time, she clarified that the case will take time to be cracked. “This is not a one-day story. It will take time to crack the case and put all the culprits behind bars. We believe that the duo will make some startling revelations that will help us go deeper into the case,” she said.

The agency has accessed two e-mail accounts through which the two officials used to send secret documents to Mumbai-based CA-cum-consultant Khemchand Gandhi, who in turn passed on the documents to various corporate houses. He has also been nabbed and sent to three-day transit remand. A sum of Rs 60 lakh was recovered from his office and residence.

“The officials had been directly involved in selling the confidential documents to the CA for the past two years for hefty amounts,” sources said.

They further added Daljit Singh, ADC, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in the Ministry of Commerce, was also in touch of the three accused. “Raids were carried out on Thursday at five locations in Delhi, one in Gurgaon and two in Mumbai. Singh was not found and yet to be arrested,” sources said.

While Kumar is learnt to have confessed that he has leaked the information, but Sharma has denied any involvement in the case. “I have passed the information only available on the internet. But these are no classified documents,” said the source quoting Kumar as saying.

In his defence, Sharma said, “I have already handed over hard drive to the CBI. I have nothing to do with the e-mail account.”

Meanwhile, the CBI, according to the sources, is yet to approach eight corporate houses, which are on its radar.

Earlier this month, two officials – one from the Ministry of Environment and the other from the Union Public Service Commission – were taken into custody by the Delhi Police for leaking sensitive documents to Lokesh Sharma, an energy consultant. This widened the scope of investigation into the high-profile corporate espionage case.

So far, 17 people, who include senior executive of top energy companies, energy consultants, and government employees, have been held by the city police.


Corporate espionage: Major breakthrough in next five days, says CBI