NSCS spying case probe done by unauthorised officer: RTI reply

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 16:08

New Delhi: The sensitive National Security
Council Secretariat spying case of 2006 was investigated by an
officer of the Special Cell of Delhi Police who was not
authorised to do it, an RTI reply has revealed.

In 2006, Delhi Police Special Cell arrested three persons
-- S S Paul, a systems analyst at NSCS, Navy Commander (retd)
Mukesh Saini and Brigadier Ujjal Dasgupta of Research and
Analysis Wing -- accusing them of passing information to an
American diplomat Rosanna Minchew who was posted here.

The arrested trio were booked under the Official Secrets
Act (OSA) which makes it mandatory that only an official of
the rank of Inspector or above can demand information from
suspects. The law also lays down that the name of such officer
should be properly notified by the Commissioner or Inspector
General of the Police (IGP).

However, the investigations in the case were done by the
then sub-inspector Sajjan Singh of the special cell, who
neither had the rank nor the authority to carry probe in such
a sensitive matter, alleges Saini who had served nearly four
years in Tihar Jail as undertrial in the case.

Saini who fought his own case got bail on May 18, 2010.

The RTI replies received by Saini show the then Delhi
Police Commissioner K K Paul, exercising his powers under the
provisions of the Act, had "empowered" Inspector Rajinder
Singh of the Special Cell to demand any information relating
any offence or suspected offences under the law.

The authorisation was withdrawn on September 22, 2006
almost three months after the arrests in the case were made.

But contrary to the authorisation entrusted to Inspector
Rajinder Singh, investigation, searches and arrests in the
case were made by sub-inspector Sajjan.

The searches were made on Saini`s house in Delhi
Cantonment on June 11, 2006, the day when Paul was taken into
custody. Saini was in United States at that time. He returned
to India after getting the news about the incident.

Saini was arrested on the intervening night of June 30.
Just before his arrest, Sajjan went to NSCS office and met
Director Vinod Kumar Mall for nearly 2.15 hours, according to
the RTI reply from NSCS.

On the same day, Sajjan sought NSCS opinion whether the
records recovered from the seized hard disc drives from Saini
were confidential and possession was unauthorised. The records
contained minutes of Indo-US cyber security forum held in 2003
and a project developed by Saini Secure Information Database
Environment.

The NSCS, however, had said in an RTI reply that there
are "no entries" in its records of receipt of these letters.

It said the replies of the said letters to Delhi Police
were given by Mall in "undated" letters, saying the possession
of these documents was unauthorised, which were mentioned only
in the diary of Mall.

The NSCS also said there were no records to show how Mall
formed his opinion on the two documents.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 16:08

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