Selling of sensitive information from government offices to the corporate world seems to have occupied centre stage in recent weeks. On Thursday, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raided six offices of different ministries and private establishments in New Delhi and Mumbai in a separate case of leakage of confidential government documents and detained three persons. According to CBI sources, the Bureau conducted raids at six places in New Delhi and two in Mumbai in the leakage of documents relating to foreign investments in the Fince and Commerce ministries. An official of the CBI said that the stolen documents were being sold for consideration by certain government officials to Khemchandra Gandhi, a Mumbai-based chartered accountant. “The CA, along with two other persons, has been detained. The CA used to pass the stolen documents to various corporate houses. We have recovered Rs 60 lakh from the office and house of the CA,” the official said. According to reports, apart from the cash, the CBI also recovered several incrimiting documents.
The latest probe by the CBI is separate from the investigation being carried out by the Delhi police regarding alleged sale of information by government officials in the Petroleum Ministry. The Delhi police have arrested 17 people in that case so far, including government employees, energy consultants and senior executives of top energy companies. It will be recalled that on February 20 Delhi police had arrested two energy consultants and five top corporate executives from leading energy firms, alleging that they used to procure documents from Lalta Prasad and Rakesh Kumar, accused in the case. The latest CBI raids merely served to substantiate the fact that theft of sensitive documents from government ministries and their sale to corporate executives has become a popular and lucrative business regardless of how despicable and treasoble the crime might be. The cupidity of a large section of government officers is a well established fact of life. It is now abundantly clear that the corporate world has had a major role in feeding and sustaining the greed for easy money among a large section of our bureaucrats. It is also very clear that the corporate world will not hesitate to compromise the security of the country if its search for classified information comes at the cost of tiol security. And since such activities of inducing senior government officers to sell classified information to the corporate world must have been going on for a long time, one must raise the pertinent question of what the UPA government had been doing about this heinous crime during its 10-year rule. Are the leaders of the UPA government going to pretend that such crimes had not been committed during the years of UPA rule? Be that as it may, the rendra Modi government, committed to rooting out corruption, must take immediate steps to fix responsibility for the leak of sensitive information (of great advantage to the corporate world) and ensure very speedy and deterrent punishment to such officers regardless of their eminent positions in the bureaucratic hierarchy. Whether the Modi government has the courage and commitment to the people to ensure this will determine how soon the people’s anxious wait for acche din will come to an end.