Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan has come down heavily on the corporate espionage incident. In an interview with HT, Pradhan said the Modi government has a “zero tolerance” policy on corruption. Excerpts:
Q. When did you suspect that something was wrong in your ministry?
A: There was no government in the past 10 years and documents were being freely transferred out. No one was monitoring any “misdoings” and the petroleum ministry as also other economic ministries were being held hostage.
Q. Was any corporate lobbyist involved, and will the probe be compromised?
A: It is up to the police to investigate. But when we try to correct the system, someone obviously will get hurt. Stealing information is a serious crime and cannot be overlooked.
Q. What was the sequence of events?
A: Our government was conscious and CCTV cameras were installed inside the ministry. Those with duplicate keys broke into the office at 11 pm and stole the documents. The details and the process will be taken forward by investigating agencies. Those found guilty will be severely dealt with. Police is probing the case. We will take strong action against the guilty. Government will come down hard on them.
Q. What is the message? Will this incident stop leakage of confidential information?
A: We are not sending any message nor are we creating any fear. I am not the investigating agency. I am a stakeholder... our government is for fair and free governance. This kind of thing (stealing documents) is detrimental in democracy to deliver free and fair governance... and nobody is above law. For public good should such things not be stopped.