Corporate espionage: All in the family

New Delhi, April 21: The multi-tasking staff in the Petroleum Ministry, called as Asharam and his kin, gained heavily out of the corporate espionage case. They were paid monthly salaries of Rs 70,000, Rs 50,000 and Rs 45,000 from three different sources.

Asharam and his two sons, Lalta Prasad and Rakesh ensured that every possible document out of the petroleum ministry was leaked to the corporates. Asharam, in fact, had direct access to the officer of the Petroleum Minister, Dharmendra Pradhan.

Corporate Espionage

He, along with his colleague, Ishwar Singh also a multi-tasking staff at the ministry regularly stole documents and ensured that it was routed out through Prasad and Rakesh.

All in the family:

Asharam was one of the primary players in the scam. He was a multi-tasking staff in the petroleum ministry who had direct access to several wings including the office of Dharmendra Pradhan.

The chargesheet that has been filed by the police would show that he had sought the services of his sons to pass on the important documents to both corporates and energy consultants.

Asharam had another partner in crime, Ishwar Singh, who too was a multi-tasking staff in the same ministry. Asharam used his sons to collect the documents from him and then pass it on. He also ensured that all payments were made to the sons by the corporates and the energy consultants.

Investigating officers say that this racket by the father and his two sons was one for several years. Asharam had earned the trust in the ministry and being a multi tasking staff he could access any room in the ministry.

The Petroleum Ministry staff involved in the espionage were paid hefty amount.

Hefty salaries:

The first part of the chargesheet deals with the persons who sourced the documents in the first place. They were paid varied salaries by the corporates and the energy consultants.

There was a fixed amount that would reach them every month. Asharam was paid three different salaries by the corporates and the energy consultants. While one corporate firm paid him Rs 45,000 two other energy consultants paid him Rs 50,000 and Rs 70,000 respectively.

The salaries paid by the energy consultants was on the higher side as they would source only top secret documents. The energy consultants on the other hand would sell these documents to the corporates directly for a very high amount.

No word on official secrets act:

The investigators have not yet invoked the Official Secrets Act in this case. They say they are awaiting orders from the Petroleum Ministry whether to invoke the Official Secrets Act or not.

The Petroleum Ministry on the other hand would have to consult with the law department before giving the go ahead. Sources however told OneIndia that the ministry is not sure about the OSA as the case does not fall under the purview of the Act.

Invoking the OSA could lead to the accused arguing on that technicality and getting away with the case. The provisions of the Indian Penal Code which deals with theft and cheating would ensure a stronger case and could be difficult for the accused persons to wriggle out of the ministry official also informed.

OneIndia News

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