Millennium Post

Corporates press panic button, destroy evidence

Corporates press panic button, destroy evidence
Ray was General Manager (International Trade) when he is believed to have leaked the vital information.

Action against Ray comes close on the heels of the government suspending ONGC’s Director (T&FS) Shashi Shankar over alleged irregularities in an unawarded Rs. 23 crore tender.

Shankar, who as the head of technology and field services (T&FS) annually handled contracts to the tune of Rs.15,000 crore for rigs and oilfield services, was suspended on February 23 for alleged “gross misconduct while dealing with a tender,” the oil ministry had said last week.

Following Ray’s suspension, well-placed industry sources said, a ‘recipient’ company has gone on an evidence destruction spree. With the fear of a trail leading to them, following the disclosures made by Ray, who could be investigated by SIT, the said company has destroyed more than a 100 laptops and mobile phones issued to its employees. This corporate house has an office inside an old hotel complex in New Delhi.

Delhi Police Crime Branch through a Specially Constituted SIT, which is probing the leakgate case, have informally questioned Reliance Industries Limited president—corporate affairs, Shankar Adwal and seized his computer during a raid at his office. Crime Branch is yet to summon him for interrogation. After Adwal’s informal questioning, the SIT is planning to interrogate some top honchos. However, according to senior officials of Crime Branch there are no immediate plans to quiz any of the owners of these companies. “We realize that they are the real beneficiaries but we do not want to rush things,” an official said.

The probe in the corporate espionage case is being personally monitored by National Security Adviser Ajit Doval. It’s going to be a test case for prosecution under the Official Secrets Act. Due to paucity of evidence the old cases are still gathering dust in the lower courts.

Incidentally Supreme Court in 2011 had the cleared decks for prosecution of three Reliance honchos -- AN Sethuraman, Shankar Adwal and V Balasubramanian on charges of possession of confidential government documents.

Chayanika Nigam

Chayanika Nigam

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