Oil ministry leaks: Delhi Police trace keysmith

  • Prawesh Lama, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 23, 2015 01:00 IST

The Delhi Police have traced the keysmith who allegedly forged duplicate keys for the petroleum ministry employees arrested for stealing and selling confidential documents to private energy firms and consultancies.

The key-maker told the police that the two ministry employees had on a number of occasions asked him to make duplicate keys to various offices, sources said.

“We tracked him on the basis of information provided by the ministry employee Asharam and his son Lalta Prasad,” a police official said, refusing to reveal the man’s identity.

HT wrote on February 21 that a chain with 11 duplicate keys was recovered by the crime branch officials when they made first arrests in the sensational case on February 19.

The statement of the keysmith, who is from New Delhi area, had already been recorded, sources said.

Asharam and Prasad are among 12 persons, including five corporate executives, arrested in the case when the police announced they had nabbed three men from outside Shastri Bhawan.

The men allegedly used duplicate keys and forged identity cards to gain access to the ministry office in the high-security building and photocopy documents related to high-value bids and pricing policies.

Investigating officials have roped in experts on finance and policy matters to help them understand the contents of the classified official papers and how they could have benefitted energy firms.

The accused persons stole and photocopied all documents that passed the offices of joint and deputy secretaries in the exploration department, sources said. The department is a repository of India’s oil resources. Most of the stolen documents were from these two offices.

The police Sunday raided and seized hundreds of documents from the offices of the five energy firms whose executives have been arrested.

“We have the leaked documents and the phone call records to prove the link of the five executives with those who stole the documents. We are yet to issue summons to their bosses, which would be done in a day or two,” a police officer said.

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