New Delhi: The five corporate executives, arrested in connection with Petroleum Ministry documents leak case, were today sent by a local court to three-day police custody for interrogation as Delhi Police alleged materials recovered from them show “national security was taken for a ride.”
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Sanjay Khanagwal allowed the Crime Branch of Delhi Police to quiz them in their custody till February 24 as the police said charges under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) might also be invoked in the matter as documents related to national security have been recovered.
“National interest was taken for a ride in the case. Documents relates to national security have also been recovered. This may attract charges under the Official Secrets Act,” the police said, adding that the accused might tamper with the evidence if released at this stage.
The five accused, who were produced in the court, are Shailesh Saxena from RIL, Vinay Kumar from Essar, K K Naik from Cairns India, Subhash Chandra from Jubilant Energy and Rishi Anand from Reliance ADAG.
Saxena is Manager, Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries Limited(RIL); Chandra is senior executive, Jubilant Energy; Anand is DGM, Reliance ADAG; Vinay is DGM, Essar and Naik is GM, Cairns India.
During the hearing, the police said these accused have been arrested on the basis of disclosure statement of the other arrested accused.
“We need three-day police custody as recoveries have to be done and the beneficiaries have to be interrogated,” the investigating officer (IO) said.
He said the probe was at an initial stage and officials of the Petroleum Ministry and other ministries will look at the documents recovered during the investigation.
The police said that documents recovered from the accused showed that the same were perused by their senior officials who will also be questioned in the case.
It said that they have to consult the officials of the concerned ministries regarding the documents seized from the accused as these materials might have a bearing on the national security.
The advocates appearing for the five accused opposed the police's plea seeking three days police custody, contending that their clients have been illegally detained since February 18 and 19.
The defence counsel contended that there was nothing to be recovered from their clients and the police have not told the court about the specific allegations against the accused.
During the arguments, senior advocate Ramesh Gupta, who appeared for RIL's Saxena, opposed the contentions of police saying his client was “illegally detained” since February 18.
“They cannot take the court for ride. They have to follow the prescribed procedure. Saxena was taken away from his office on February 18. CCTV camera installed in his office should be seen,” he said.
Gupta further contended that case diary has not been paginated which was against the prescribed procedure and the police has failed to show any specific allegation against any of the five accused.
“Media has written so many things which are not before the court. From where the press is getting this information? Are they (police) leaking it?” he said adding the police should first satisfy the court as to why police custody was required.
The counsel appearing for Naik argued that there was nothing more which was required to be seized or recovered from his client who was also “illegally detained” by the police.
Similarly, senior advocate Dayan Krishnan, appearing for Essar's Vinay Kumar, said that on February 18 the police searched the office of his client and Kumar was called to the crime branch office the next day and since then he was being “illegally detained” by the police.
The counsel appearing for Rishi said that there were no specific grounds on which the accused have been arrested and Rishi was detained by the police officials since February 19.
The lawyer representing Chandra said that no incriminating documents have been seized from his client and he has been detained since February 19.
Countering the submissions of the defence counsel, the IO said that the accused were not detained illegally and they were arrested yesterday only. He also said that case diary was in proper paginated form.
The IO said these five accused used to procure documents from arrested accused Lalta Prasad and Rakesh, who were produced before the court yesterday, and they used to pay them. These documents were then supplied to the companies by these officials to benefit the firm.
“They used to know about the government policy in advance. We have to analyse about their acts as to how they were extending benefits to their companies,” the IO said.