corporate espionage jet etihad airways
Stewardesses from Jet Airways (L) and Etihad Airways listen to a news conference by Naresh Goyal, chairman of Jet Airways and James Hogan, chief executive of Abu Dhabi's Etihad Airways, (both not seen) during a news conference in New Delhi July 23, 2014. [Representational Image]Reuters

While investigation of classified documents leaked from several ministries is being carried out in full swing, Delhi police crime branch found that files pertaining to Jet and Etihad Airways partnership deal were leaked from the finance ministry.

Among the several files related to the deal, copy of papers containing the foreign investment promotion board's (FIPB) clearance to the Jet-Etihad deal for ₹ 2,058 crore was leaked in July.

"In this deal, all the papers, file notings, information about rivals, policy notes regarding FDI, FIPB approval, and communications at the level of finance secretary, minister and other officials were leaked," according to The Times of India source.

Along with this, other files including legal documents and papers containing important communication between the ministries of finance, civil aviation, FIPB and SEBI on the jet-Etihad deal were also leaked.

According to the TOI sources, these classified files were leaked out of the ministry premises with the help of finance ministry officials, private consultants and middlemen.

The others being interrogated in connection with corporate espionage have revealed that papers pertaining to more deals have also been leaked. This has channelised CBI's focus on "more companies benefitting from finance and commerce and ind-ustry ministry officials," CBI officials said.

Following this, there are possibilities that more corporate executives and ministry officials will be arrested in near future as the case of corporate espionage is getting much deeper than expected.

Calling the corporate espionage "beyond belief", a senior official said, "It is a clear cut case of subversion. Crucial wings of the government which were important in decision-making were being compromised".

The CBI has since 19 February arrested a number of people accused of leaking confidential documents from coal, petroleum, power ministries and selling it to the corporate houses. During their recent investigation, they arrested a few officials and corporate executives in connection with the leakage of files from finance ministry.

Under-secretary in the finance ministry Ashok Kumar Singh and a section officer in North Block Lala Ram Sharma have been arrested for leaking documents from the ministry and supplying it to the private companies. Mumbai-based chartered accountant Khem Chand Gandhi and two others have been taken into custody in charge of facilitating the leak and sale of confidential documents to corporate houses.