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Assam scribe in custody

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 Feb 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Petroleum ministry espioge case

THE CHARGES

* Saikia arrested on charges of leaking petroleum ministry documents to corporate houses.

* Saikia and Jain ran an independent website where they uploaded the alysis of the documents which were photocopies of the origils.

* They also shared this information with some individuals in return for money.

* A case registered against Saikia after he published stories of the annual budget before it was presented in the Parliament.

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, February 20: He has an impressive background and curriculum vitae. A graduate from Delhi University and a post graduate from Delhi School of Economics, he worked for various business and economic newspapers. He has also worked as bureau chief in the Fincial Express and in a senior position with the Economic Times.

He left mainstream jourlism in 2001 and started a web portal under the banner of Indian Petro Group (IPG), which now claims to be India’s largest news, information and market intelligence provider in the Indian oil & gas, power and fertilizer sectors.

Meet Santanu Saikia who was on Friday arrested by Delhi police in the petroleum ministry espioge case.

Saikia’s portal provides niche business information in India through “exclusive, industry specific portals” -www.indianpetro.com, www.energylineindia. com, www.indianfertilizer.com and www.indianpetrochem.com.

The portals claims to have a countrywide network of jourlists, alysts, editors and scouts who provide detailed information on a daily basis on these sectors. “Our reporters are constantly striving to pick out critical information from key decision-makers. The information is then distilled by our in-house group of editors and alysts before it is uploaded on our websites,” the portal claims.

Sources told this newspaper that the monthly income of Saikia through these portals runs into several lakhs, as they are subscribed at exorbitant rates by some key business groups. He owns a house in Defence Colony. It is also reported that he bought a bungalow in Delhi in 2006.

Sources said Saikia had also case registered against him after he published stories of the annual budget before it was presented in Parliament.

Santanu Saikia is the son of eminent litterateur, late Chandra Prasad Saikia. Saikia’s first wife had committed suicide, while his second wife Sabi Sehgal Saikia, also a senior jourlist, was killed at Hotel Taj during the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack.

Saikia is among the seven persons arrested by Delhi police on charges of leaking petroleum ministry documents to corporate houses. A court in Delhi on Friday sent all seven accused in the case to police custody.

Among the arrested are Prayas Jain, a Melbourne-based energy consultant, and Delhi based brothers Rakesh Kumar and Lalta Prasad.

The court also sent Ghaziabad resident Rajkumar Chaubey and government employees Asharam and Ishwar Singh to judicial custody for 14 days.

All the seven arrested have been charged under various sections of the IPC relating to theft, forgery, trespass and crimil conspiracy in leaking the documents.

Saikia and Jain allegedly shared information with some individuals in return of money.

Three of the arrested were caught red-handed with photocopies of some secret documents in Shastri Bhawan on February 17.

Based on information provided by them, the other persons were arrested.

The arrested people (Kumar and Prasad) did not steal particular documents, they instead used to lift any document lying on the table.

The theft of the documents had been taking place in the office of the Petroleum ministry, located in the high-security Shastri Bhawan near Parliament house.

If the documents stolen come under the purview of secret documents, the police may lodge a case under Official Secrets Act.

However, the Delhi police has not yet revealed the mes of the organisations which benefitted from this corporate espioge. Officials from Reliance Industries and Essar Group executives are reportedly being questioned in connection with the case. (With inputs from IANS in New Delhi)

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