Documents recovered from the five corporate executives arrested for their alleged roles in the petroleum ministry leaks case are related to "national security aspect", and charges under the Official Secrets Act 1923 might also be invoked in the matter, the Delhi Police said before a court in New Delhi on Saturday.
Prosecution under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) will be more stringent than it would have been under the penal code sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 411 (dishonestly receiving stolen property) that were invoked initially.
The crime branch of Delhi Police produced the five accused before a magistrate and was given three days to interrogate them. “National interest was taken for a ride in the case. Documents related to national security have also been recovered. This may attract charges under the official secrets act,” the police told the court while seeking five days for custodial interrogation.
This may attract charges under the official secrets act," the police told the court. An order on custodial interrogation is expected later.
Another suspect in the widening probe, former journalist Shantanu Saikia who has been arrested for allegedly receiving classified documents, claimed on Saturday that he was framed since he was working to uncover a Rs 10,000 crore scam . As Saikia was brought back to the Crime Branch office in Chanakyapuri following a mandatory medical check-up at RML Hospital on Saturday afternoon, he shouted to journalists waiting in the area that the charges against him were fabricated.
Searches were carried out at the office of arrested energy consultant Prayas Jain as the police attempted to find the stolen documents, PTI said.
The police also told the court that these five accused were procuring these sensitive documents at the behest of their senior officials, some of whom might be interrogated in the ongoing investigation.
The advocates appearing for these five accused vehemently opposed the police's plea seeking five days police custody, contending that their clients have been illegally detained since February 18 and 19.
The defence counsel also contended that there was nothing to be recovered from their clients and the police have not told the court regarding the specific allegations against these accused.
With the arrest of these five accused, the total number of arrests in the case rose to 12. Seven others were produced in the court Friday, out of whom four were sent to police custody till February 23 and three were remanded to judicial custody for two weeks.