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Rediff.com  » News » Delhi cops probe MHA officer's links

Delhi cops probe MHA officer's links

November 23, 2010 19:14 IST

IAS officer Ravi Inder Singh, who is suspected to have leaked information about government's telecom policies to corporate houses, is yet to be placed under arrest, a day after the police raided his house and office. Investigators say that Singh may not have been alone in the 'conspiracy' with several officials of different government agencies being placed under the scanner.  

Police officials said that a First Information Report has been registered against the officer in the capital's elite police wing – the special cell.

The police detained Singh, all day long at their office in New Friends Colony on Tuesday. Police said he was being questioned and he is likely to be arrested later on Tuesday.

Singh, a 1994 batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre was working as the director of Internal Security division, which is considered a 'very sensitive department' in the home ministry.

"Singh handled the BlackBerry file. He was responsible for assessing and issuing clearances for BlackBerry, with which the MHA is engaged in a long-drawn dispute over disclosure of information for security purposes," a MHA official said.

The MHA had allayed fears to Intelligence agencies that he was leaking information on government's policy on Blackberry services to corporate houses. An MHA official said that he was leaking information to "some" corporate telecom companies about how to gain security clearances from the MHA.

Intelligence agencies had put him under surveillance about a month ago and on Monday afternoon directed the special cell to raid his RS Puram residence and North Block office.

"We conducted the raid as per instructions issued by intelligence agencies. We have seized several documents, hard disks of both his home and residence computers and some files. We are waiting for his call details to ascertain who he was in touch with regularly in the past six months," a senior police official said.

After details of the raids conducted became public, Blackberry maker Research In Motion issued a statement saying that they had no involvement in the matter.

"RIM unequivocally states that it has no involvement or insight regarding the matter that has led to the arrest of Ravi Inder Singh. RIM's employees and representatives have never met any official of the Ministry of Home Affairs other than in official meetings at the premises of MHA. Any suggestion to the contrary is false, unfounded and slanderous," the statement read.

Intelligence agencies reportedly have a video clipping of Singh engaged in talks with representatives of "some telecom companies" in a five star hotel.

The special cell sleuths prepared a preliminary report and submitted it to the MHA for approval. After their nod, police slapped a case under Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act and 120B of the IPC (criminal conspiracy) against Singh.

"We are still looking into the allegations. Further sections will be added to the FIR as the case investigation progresses," a senior special cell officer associated with the investigation told rediff.com

Singh's position in the ministry is critical because the Union Home Ministry had warned that it would ban the BlackBerry Enterprise Service (BES) and BlackBerry Messenger Services (BMS) offered by Canadian based company Research In Motion. The MHA wanted RIM to provide legal interception of these services for security purposes.

MHA officials and special cell sources said that several senior officers from the Department of Telecom are also under the scanner. MHA sources said that information leaks could not be carried out by Singh alone and his phone and mail records are being scrutinised to see who else may be involved.

Sahim Salim in New Delhi