17 computer disks stolen from Indian Defence Ministry
NEW DELHI: Seventeen computer hard disks were stolen from a sensitive Defence Ministry office early this week. The theft took place in a section of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) that develops codes for sending “super-secret” data.
The computers were installed in the office of the Special Analysis Group in Delhi’s Metcalfe House which also houses the Defence Documentation Centre and the Defence Terrain Research Laboratory. Metcalfe House belongs to the DRDO.
The analysis group is in charge of cryptography and the development of codes for secured communications used by the Army, intelligence agencies and the Foreign Ministry.
According to the Delhi Police, scientists at Metcalfe House said the computers were intact when they locked the offices on October 3. On October 6, the next working day, they discovered 17 computers missing. The central processing units were discarded near a boundary wall, but the hard disks containing secret information were missing. Sources ruled out financial gain as a motive because only the hard disks were stolen. More than one person must be involved, they said.
Meanwhile, Defence Minister George Fernandes has asked the Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau to join the probe.
Police said the burglars appeared to have entered the labs using a ladder to scale the 12-feet-high boundary wall of the building.
Conceding that was a security lapse, the Defence Ministry was playing down the sensitivity of the stolen information. Officials said nine of the disks were for training purposes and the others contained routine data on internal departments.