How the Government executed operation #CorporateEspionage – a Timeline

1. In July 2014, some national newspapers carried news reports claiming the oil ministry had made a presentation to the PMO on the new gas pricing options and that this had been critiqued by a former Planning Commission adviser. This was found to be a wrong story and a “motivated plant to embarrass the oil ministry in front of the prime minister“.

2. In August 2014, an original and sensitive government document that had been left in a photocopier indicated the work of an “over-excited corporate mole“. This reinforced the Government’s beliefs on Corporate Espionage.

3. Soon after that, NSA Ajit Doval , saw a TV channel’s report saying the Prime Minister was shown images of INS Arihant, a nuclear submarine, at a DRDO function. After this Doval asked RAW to initiate action.

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4. In October 2014, Doval wrote a letter to a Cabinet Secretary based on the above TV report, that the leak was of classified information, and there was a violation of secrecy laws.

5. By around December, the Government decided to put additional CCTV cameras, to catch the culprits. At this time, some officials suggested this would create unnecessary hassles and cause discomfort to people who may feel they are being watched all the time.

6. Power and coal minister Piyush Goyal barred the entry of corporate executives in his ministry soon after he took charge. Oil minister Pradhan had taken similar steps and had also ordered that internet access of junior officials be restricted to prevent leaks.

7. Once the probe began, dozens of phones were officially intercepted, after clearance from the home ministry. The investigators now have about a hundred hours of recordings to back their case.

8. Fake papers were made to look like important ones to fool people under suspicion and even mock conversations were carried out to ensnare suspects. When such papers were leaked, the agencies could narrow down their probe.

9. Finally, when concrete proofs were obtained, the NSA and the PM were informed.  Delhi Police commissioner B S Bassi was then involved  to launch the crackdown.

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