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Corporate spying: CBI arrests commerce ministry employee

Source: PTI
March 16, 2015 21:22 IST
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The case of leakage of classified documents from government offices seems to be getting murkier as the Central Bureau of Investigation has now summoned a senior official of Reliance Industries Limited and a noted chartered accountant who is on the board of several big corporate and government bodies.

In a related development, CBI arrested one Daljeet Singh, posted as Upper Division Clerk with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion under commerce ministry as the agency has found documents pertaining to foreign investments in HDFC Bank Limited and a pharma company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals also having been leaked.

Both HDFC Bank and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals have denied the allegations.

A senior CBI official said that it was a well-flourishing racket that was being operated out of the national capital with deals being fixed mostly in the country’s financial capital Mumbai and Bengaluru.

The government has given a go ahead to the agency in plugging all leakages from the government offices and nab all culprits.

The RIL official based in Mumbai was allegedly in regular touch with Khemchand Gandhi, who was providing him with confidential documents from the commerce ministry and finance ministry on the foreign investment policies, CBI sources said.

RIL did not respond to PTI queries seeking their comments on the development.

The sources said the agency has also summoned Rajendra Chitale, partner of Chitale and Associates.

His partner Paresh was arrested by CBI red handed on Friday while allegedly trying to destroy troves of confidential government documents stashed in his office.

52-year old Chitale, a chartered accountant, has been on the board of several big finance companies in private sector as well as big PSUs and government bodies.

The agency has recovered huge cache of documents in hard copy as well as electronic documents relating to several files on foreign investment proposals of Jet-Etihad deal, HDFC Bank, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals besides among others.

“We categorically deny having known or heard of, let alone interacted with the individual named in these news reports. Any suggestion that we may have indulged in any wrongdoing is completely baseless and untrue,” HDFC Bank had said in a statement.

The bank further said that these allegations, apart from being baseless and untrue, are “defamatory” and an attempt to malign the reputation of HDFC Bank...We have always adhered to the highest standards of integrity and propriety in our business conduct, and will continue to do so in the future,” it had added.

CBI has also examined a Delhi-based official of consultancy firm PriceWaterhouseCooper who was allegedly getting documents from Gandhi.

The sources said it has also surfaced during the probe that allegedly he was not only getting documents related to his clients, having foreign investment interests, but also related to other corporates.

These corporate were either rivals to its clients or the PwC was seeing them as future clients, an official said.

They said the official who was a mid-ranking executive was called to the office and grilled over his alleged links with Gandhi and mails which were exchanged with him.

The company said in a statement, “Our manager met CBI officials today in connection with the FIPB applications filed by our clients and the official communication that we have exchanged with FIPB in this regard, in the normal course of business. Necessary clarification as asked for were provided.”

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