India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested a chartered accountant working for PwC India in a managerial role as part of an investigation into alleged businesses information leaks.
The arrests came as part of an investigation into the alleged leaking of confidential documents from the Ministry of Finance relating to foreign direct investment proposals, as well as sensitive business information pertaining to a number of companies.
The CBI, India’s foremost investigative policing authority, said it had arrested two officials within the country’s Ministry of Finance as well as an unnamed "consultant/chartered accountant" based in Mumbai.
According to the CBI’s allegations, the documents were obtained by three government officials and subsequently supplied to corporate groups via courier and email in exchange for payment.
In particular, cited sources said that several companies had been contacting government officials for information about the foreign investment promotion board (FIPB), including information on the government’s foreign direct investment policies.
The as yet unnamed PwC employee was involved in obtaining the information from the alleged corrupt officials at the Ministry of Finance.
According to the CBI, searches have been carried out at six sites in Delhi and four in Mumbai, leading to the recovery of around INR 6m ($95,520) from the offices and residence of the implicated consultant.
Further, according to investigators: "CBI has also intercepted the copies of confidential official documents allegedly sent through courier from Delhi by the accused Government officials to the consultant at Mumbai, while under transit."
Approached by IAB, a spokesperson for PwC India said: "Our manager met CBI officials today in connection with the FIPB applications filed by our clients and the official communication that we have exchanged with FIPB in this regard, in the normal course of business.
She added: "Necessary clarifications as asked for were provided."
The Times of India reported the CBI is in the process of probing "some big names among auditors, law firms, CA firms and consultancies" as part of the investigation into leaks from several of the country’s ministries.
"More companies could be raided soon," the outlet reported the CBI as stating.