RIM denies reports that Indian official snooped for it

The official from the Home Ministry was questioned Monday in a police investigation

Research In Motion denied reports in Indian media that it had received information from an Indian government official questioned by police Monday during an investigation into the leaking of information to telecommunications companies.

Ravi Inder Singh, a senior official in the country's Ministry of Home Affairs, was taken in for questioning on Monday, Delhi police sources said.

Special Commissioner of Police P.N. Aggarwal said on Tuesday that Singh had not been arrested, and investigations were still going on in the case. He declined to comment on the line of investigation.

RIM is currently in difficult negotiations with the Indian government, which has been demanding that law enforcement agencies be given the ability to intercept communications on RIM's network.

The government has given RIM until January to provide total access to communications on its BlackBerry Messenger service. It has also demanded access to RIM's corporate email and communications service, BlackBerry Enterprise Server

Referring to the questioning of Singh, RIM said it had no involvement in the matter, and that the Indian government had made no suggestion of RIM's involvement. The company said its employees and representatives have never met any official of the MHA other than in official meetings at the premises of the MHA.

RIM was named in some media reports as one of the companies that benefited from alleged leaks by Singh. According to TV channel IBNLive, a police first information report said Singh used to meet RIM's representatives in 5-star hotels and passed on vital information.

The Singh affair comes a week after the Comptroller and Auditor General of India presented a report in India's Parliament that alleged that irregular allocations of 2G licenses and spectrum in 2008 to some Indian operators may have cost the country about US$39 billion.

The report said that the minister of communications and IT at the time, A. Raja, had favored some companies in the award of the licenses. Raja resigned ahead of the presentation of the report, after leaks of it were published in some newspapers in India.

John Ribeiro covers outsourcing and general technology breaking news from India for The IDG News Service. Follow John on Twitter at @Johnribeiro. John's e-mail address is john_ribeiro@idg.com

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