Corporate espionage: Mysterious ‘fire’ destroys 'assets' at energy consultant Prayas Jain's office
New Delhi: A mysterious "fire" at the office of energy consultant Prayas Jain, who has been arrested for allegedly buying stolen secret documents of Oil Ministry, has gutted "assets" inside.
A day after arrest of its Chief Executive Jain in the corporate espionage scam, Metis Energy, on February 19, sent an e-mail to its clients, saying the daily newsletter on happenings in oil & gas and power sectors will not be delivered for next one week because of a "fire" at its office.
"Unfortunately a massive fire had broken out at our business premise yesterday (February 18). We were able to get hold of it, however, considerable damage has been caused to the building and assets inside," Sonam Gupta said in the e-mail.
Gupta is listed as the contact person for Dashboard, which delivers the daily newsletter to clients via e-mail, on the Metis Energy website. She could not be contacted as her mobile phone was switched off and office phones listed on the Metis website were either disconnected or not answered.
Jain was arrested along with former journalist Santanu Saikia on February 18 for allegedly buying stolen government files from a gang of five that included two junior Oil Ministry officials, for peddling to corporates.
Besides these seven, five executives of Reliance Industries, Essar Group, Cairn India, Jubilant Energy and Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group too have been arrested.
Prior to starting Metis in May 2009, Jain worked as Manager - Business Development at Infraline Energy, another Metis-type market intelligence and sector specific news provider.
Saikia heads Indianpetro, a similar industry newsletter.
While no one associated with Infraline as so far been detained by police, the website has been removed since the scam broke out.
"Going forward, I regret to inform you that we won't be able to deliver our services for approximately next one week," Metis said in the e-mail to clients. "As a testament to our strive for perfection, we have taken steps to ensure that we begin our seamless services as soon as possible."
Metis described itself as "a basic suite of energy market intelligence, offering the user with latest news and analysis, tenders and project updates" and lists 83 clients on its website.
These clients include Reliance Industries, Tata Projects, Shell, Rolls-Royce, Rio Tinto, Reliance Power, ONGC, NTPC, IOC, ICICI Bank, GAIL, Chevron, Essar and Aditya Birla Group.
"At the outset, please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you may experience with respect to the Newsletter today (February 19)... We truly respect your deep sense of understanding and therefore, we will be committed to provide you with the best of services," Metis wrote.