London, Jul 26: The Home Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has asked Indian IT major HCL Technologies to provide information about its relationship with Rupert Murdoch's News International, which has been the focus of the phone-hacking controversy in Britain.
Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee that has been in the forefront of investigating the phone-hacking issue, has written to the chairman of HCL Technologies for information, including the allegation that News International requested it to delete its emails.
HCL Technologies was mentioned in the discourse of phone-hacking when it was mentioned during the trial of former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan, that News International's email data had been destroyed in HCL's office in India.
However, it was later discovered that the emails were stored in a warehouse in London.
Vaz asked three questions in his letter to HCL Technologies: “Whether News International currently holds or has ever held a contract with HCL Technologies? Whether HCL Technologies holds emails for News International within its storage facilities in India? If News International has ever requested HCL Technologies to delete any of these emails?” News International, which owns the title of the now defunct ‘News of the World', is one of HCL Technologies' client.
The IT major manages the company's IT infrastructure based on an IT outsourcing agreement signed in 2009. During a recent debate in the House of Commons on the phone hacking issue, Labour MP Tom Watson said there had been an attempt to destroy News International data at the HCL storage facility in Chennai, India.
However, in a statement to PTI, HCL Technologies said: “In light of some regrettable comments made over the last few days, we categorically confirm that HCL Technologies does not and has not stored any data either in the UK or anywhere else in the world”.
It added: “Accordingly, it is wholly impossible for there to have been any destruction of data held by HCL, and any suggestion to the contrary is misleading.” HCL said that it strongly adhered to, follows, and respect the data privacy of both customers and authorities in the countries where it operates.
It added: “Over the past two months, we have been fully co-operating with the Metropolitan Police at the request of News International. Due to the ongoing investigations and client confidentiality, HCL Technologies cannot under any circumstances, go into further details on this matter at this stage.” PTI