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Home Ministry official held for leaking sensitive info

Last updated on: November 22, 2010 23:26 IST

In a major embarrassment to the Home Ministry, a high-ranking officer in the department has been arrested for allegedly passing on sensitive information.

Ravi Inder Singh, an IAS officer holding the post of director, Internal Security was picked up under charges mandated in the Official Secrets Act.

Sources told that Singh, an officer of the 1994 IAS batch from West Bengal, has been accused of passing on sensitive information to a telecom company.

According to the Intelligence Bureau, Singh had been under surveillance for nearly a month now after the agency had tipped off the Delhi Police about his actions.

After being kept on watch for a month, the special cell of the Delhi Police conducted a raid at his residence and his office. Incriminating documents were recovered from his possession.

Home Secretary G K Pillai said that the raid was conducted following an allegation that he was passing on sensitive information.

Sources in the IB say that he was privy to many sensitive files in the government and when the raids were conducted he was handling the blackberry issue for the government.

The Government of India had decided to crackdown on Blackberry over security concerns and certain telecom companies, which were dealing with this service, had sought information on what the government had planned to do on this issue.

In addition to this the police are also probing his links with a telecom firm on the issue of number portability, which comes into effect in a couple of days.

Number portability, which comes into effect first in Haryana, allows a mobile user to change his service provider while retaining the same number.

Sources also maintained that Singh was passing on sensitive information to some firms and the information that was allegedly passed on included security clearance-related issues.

"Intelligence agencies have a video clipping of Singh meeting with his party in a five star restaurant in the capital. This clipping also resulted from the surveillance that was mounted on him after the home ministry allayed fears to intelligence agencies of his leaking information," a ministry source said.

The Delhi Police are, however, tight-lipped on the investigation and say that they will need to probe further.

The IB says that in addition to information related to the telecom sector, Singh also had information regarding the manner in which the government was planning on handling the Maoist issue and also the situation in Jammu and Kashmir and also the North East.

Though investigations have so far suggested that the IAS officer had dealt with just telecom firms, cops will probe in detail whether he shared information regarding other sensitive issues, the IB pointed out.

Sources did not reveal as to whom Singh had passed on the information to. They say that when put under the scanner they were getting the name of only one firm with whom Singh had allegedly dealt with. also learnt that Singh was handling an ultra-sensitive Pakistan desk as well. When questioned, however, Delhi Police and home ministry sources categorically denied that Singh had been passing information on Pakistan.

"It is true that he was handling some files relating to the Pakistan desk. But, so far, we only have information about his leaking of information to corporate houses. From initial probe it does not look like he was passing on Pakistan-based information," a senior special cell officer said.

"We are looking at all possible provisions of the IPC to slap against Singh. He could be charged with acts pertaining to abuse of official position, pecuniary benefits and illegal gratification under the Prevention of Corruption Act," the special cell officer added.

Vicky Nanjappa and Sahim Salim