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National
CBI raids bust racket selling confidential govt documents to corporates
13-03-2015

NEW DELHI: Busting a major ring of a well known Chartered Accountant and government servants, CBI has registered a case of alleged sale of confidential documents related to foreign investment policies which were passed on to major corporate groups of the country.

CBI sources said a major coordinated search operation at various locations — including six here and two in Mumbai– was carried out today. Several offices of Finance Ministry and Commerce Ministry, residences of its officials and a well known Mumbai-based Chartered Accountant were covered.

The sources said a trove of confidential documents and Rs 60 lakh cash was allegedly recovered from the residence of the Chartered Accountant besides large number of electronic documents have been found on the laptop, tablets and hard disks recovered from the residence of officials and CA.

The sources said Chartered Accountant Khemchand Gandhi, Under Secretary in Department of Disinvestment and Grievances Ashok Kumar Singh and Section Officer in the Department of Economic Affairs Lala Ram Sharma have been detained by the agency.

It is alleged that the government servants were selling documents related to Foreign Investment Policies which are being floated in the ministries to Gandhi who in turn passed them on to big corporates for a price.

The sources said big names in banking, pharmaceuticals and realty business are under the scanner of the agency which CBI officials termed as “tip of the iceberg”. All these groups under scanner have applied for foreign investments.

The sources said agency has registered a case of criminal conspiracy, theft under IPC and misuse of official position against the trio.

The departments which were searched today included Department of Economic Affairs and Department of Disinvestment in the Finance Ministry besides Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion in the Commerce Ministry.

The sources said suspected beneficiaries whose names have cropped during the interrogation of Gandhi and recovery of documents include HDFC Bank, Indusind Bank, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Novalead Pharmaceuticals among others.

The comments from these companies have been sought and are still awaited.

The sources said the racket was active for last two years and might have sold and influenced the policy of government regarding foreign investments in India.

“The Under Secretaries and Section Officers of ministries are custodian of policy documents and also the first movers of policy proposals. We suspect that they might be influencing the policies in favour of corporates. But that is a matter of probe,” a senior CBI official alleged.

The sources said the agency was tracking the officials and the chartered accountant and today intercepted a courier in Mumbai in which an entire confidential file was recovered.