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Sex, cash for secrets: MHA mole held

delhi Updated: Nov 24, 2010 02:12 IST

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A senior IAS officer in the Union Home Ministry, questioned for allegedly leaking sensitive information, was on Tuesday night formally arrested after a broker from West Bengal having close links with him was apprehended.

The official Ravi Inder Singh has been arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act and on charges of criminal conspiracy, a top Delhi Police officer said.

A cocktail of sexual favours and demands for money for allegedly leaking secret information has emerged from transcripts of the tapes of Singh's telephonic conversation with his businessman contact.

The arrest of Singh, a Director in the internal security division of the ministry, came after he was interrogated on
charges of misusing his official position for commercial interests.

A businessman from West Bengal, who was allegedly acting as a broker on behalf of Singh, a 1994 batch officer,
was picked up from a five-star hotel last evening and subsequently arrested.

The businessman has been trying to fix a "deal" with a telecom company on behalf of Singh for providing security-
related information from the ministry in return for a few crores rupees, a home ministry official said.

The company's application related to security clearance in connection with Mobile Number Portability was pending with the ministry.

Though Singh was not in a position to give security clearance to any company, he could have facilitated such clearance by giving favourable inputs to higher officials, the official said.

Singh was under surveillance of Delhi Police's Special Cell for more than a month and was detained on Monday evening, following which searches were carried out at his office and residence.

"This is corporate snooping and clear violation of conduct rules. Whether it is a corruption case we are examining. He has not been arrested and last night he was allowed to go after questioning. Today he came back and is being questioned again. His property, bank balance, are being looked into but no national security has been compromised," the official said.

Singh was handling almost 5,000 security-related cases in four sectors of telecom, mining, shipping and surface transport and it was being investigated to whom he was leaking the information (official), sources said.

Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry Utthan Kumar Bansal described the incident as "very serious" and "matter of grave concern".

Bansal said Singh was "misusing" his official position for commercial interests.

Home Ministry officials said Singh was using five mobile phones -- some of which were found in possession of the
arrested businessman - while making conversation. He was also using coded words like 'prasad' and 'laddu' for describing money.

Investigators have found that the officer was not only allegedly seeking money but sexual favour too in return for providing security-related information of corporate houses, the sources said.

Singh was also reportedly using coded words "software" and "hardware" in reference to women and hotel rooms.