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Indian scientist arrested for selling official remote sensing data to a private firm

Last month a senior scientist of the Uttar Pradesh Remote Sensing Application Centre (RSAC) was arrested on charges of selling important data and satellite pictures to a private firm. Alok Saini, was charged with selling the data to a city-based firm for Rs 2.5 lakh. Saini’s wife, who acted as a mediator in the deal, was also arrested. The accused, was the incharge of such data at RSAR while his wife, Paramjeet Kaur, had left the institution few months ago.

The data was obtained by RSAR from Ekonos, a US satellite and was meant only for internal government use. The state government had paid the Centre to get the global sattelite mapping of Lucknow. The data was allegedly sold to a Gurgoan-based private firm, KLG Systel limited, which was engaged by the Lucknow Electricity Supply Agency for collecting details to identify cases of power theft in the Trans-Gomti areas of the city. The data collected by the RSAC was used by different departments for planning and other purposes and was kept secret and selling it to a private firm was an offence.