Corporate espionage: How an NGO and drop boxes helped the accused

New Delhi, March 5: There were around 14 drop boxes in and around Delhi where documents which were leaked out of the petroleum ministry were dropped off.

The investigations into the Corporate Espionage case has revealed that most of the time the accused never came face to face with each other and relied on the drop boxes to pick up the leaked documents.


Investigations also revealed the accused persons had floated an NGO which was registered to receive donations. In reality it was the money that was earned from stealing documents that went into the NGO which in turn was collected by the accused.

The accused persons being questioned by the Delhi police while throwing more light on the modus operandi revealed that most of the documents irrespective of the sensitivity were kept in the designated drop boxes in different parts of Delhi.

A coded message

Persons such as Lokesh Sharma who is alleged to have played a vital role in the scam would first steal the documents from the ministry. He would then personally take it to the drop boxes before placing it there.

Each drop box had a fixed code. After the document was dropped off a text message would be sent through a whatsapp message which would indicate where the documents could be picked up from.

At any given time there would be at least 14 drop boxes in the city and the locations would be changed from time to time. The person who had to pick up the document would be intimated five minutes after the documents are placed in the box.

No personal system used

During the entire modus operandi the accused persons were instructed never to use their personal laptops for any transaction. The Delhi police have not found anything concrete on the personal laptops of the accused which means that they always used the systems in the ministry or the corporate houses.

The accused persons also clicked pictures of the documents, but never transferred it from their phone. They would always download the picture on to the office system and then print out the file before dropping it in the box.

An NGO under the scanner

The money trail is another aspect that the Delhi police is looking into. There has nothing concrete to suggest that money was transferred into the banks. Cash payments too were not made unless the amount was too small.

It was found that an NGO had been created and the funds would be sent there making it look like donations. The accused person would then carry a slip to the NGO where the money would be directly given in cash.

This NGO was specifically created by the accused person to receive payments. There is no other activity that has been reported from this NGO. It had a registered account number where funds would drop in.

The NGO had even registered itself to collect donations and the investigators now suspect that all the money that came in was in relation to the case.

A Delhi police official pointed out that they kept changing their modus operandi every now and then. Earlier they would meet in a market and exchange the documents and also the money.

However a year later they once again changed their modus operandi and floated an NGO and also put up drop boxes. They became more sophisticated with each passing year which made it hard for the police to track.

OneIndia News

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