It happened before: Oil ministry leaks action replay of 2013 theft

  • Karn Pratap Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 24, 2015 07:36 IST

The leak of classified documents from the petroleum ministry is not a one-off incident as is being claimed. In 2013, documents were stolen from the corporate affairs ministry which, too, is housed in the high-security Shastri Bhawan.

HT has found that “confidential documents” related to a high-profile case were stolen by a multi-tasking staff member—an odds-job person—from a corporate affairs ministry office on November 15, 2013.

“Had the police taken the leak seriously and conducted a thorough probe, the theft of documents from oil ministry could have been avoided,” a senior former Delhi Police officer said.

Ravinder Kumar, a peon, stole classified documents from the office of director (inspection and Investigation) and allegedly passed them on to the company secretary (CS) of Reebok India Company, Imran, documents in possession of HT reveal.

The director, too, was facing an inquiry with regard to certain irregularities in misplacing the office file, documents say.

Though Imran was questioned in the case, he denied working for Reebok India. Numerous calls and text messages to Reebok India on Monday went unanswered.

Kumar took the papers from a “confidential” file that dealt with investigation of Reebok India and photocopied them in another room. The matter came to light three days later when original documents were found in a photo-copier, the documents say.

At the time of the theft, the sports good major was being investigated by the Serious Fraud Investigation Office of the ministry for an alleged Rs 870-crore accounting fraud. Investigation in the case is still on.

The documents with HT and the widening probe in the oil ministry case show that the malaise of stolen documents from Shastri Bhawan, which houses key ministries, is older than what the authorities claim. An FIR under Sections 381 (theft by clerk or servant of property in possession of master) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) was registered at the Parliament Street police station on November 20, 2013 on the complaint of an under secretary.

Refusing to share details, a senior Delhi Police official said, “The case was not closed and investigations are on.”

During his interrogation, Kumar accepted stealing the documents and said he had done so to help Imran. He was later released on bail, documents reveal.

His anticipatory bail order mentions sub-inspector Vijay Pal Dahiya as the case’s investigating officer, but when contacted by HT, he said no such case was being probed by him. HT has a copy of the bail order.

When contacted, Imran told HT, “I never worked for Reebok India and have nothing to do with the theft. Police did not find any evidence against me so I was released after questioning.” He, however, did admit meeting Kumar at Shastri Bhawan but won’t say why he frequented the building.

Germany’s Adidas, the world’s second largest sports apparel firm, bought the US-headquartered Reebok in August 2005.

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