NEW DELHI -- An Indian man and a Chinese woman were removed from their posts at the Indian embassy in Beijing after it was discovered that they were involved with each other, last year.
The episode also triggered alarm bells because the man had access to top secret areas and highly sensitive files in the Embassy, raising a larger question about compromises in security when an Indian employee of an embassy or consulate gets involved with a foreign national.
Mail Today identified the man as a level-four employee at the Ministry of External Affairs, who worked as a peon. It is not clear whether he was married during his 'months-long' involvement with the Chinese woman.
The MEA employee admitted his involvement with the Chinese woman in September, and he was sent back to India in October on the orders of Ambassador Ashok Kantha, who retired in January. The woman's employment was also terminated.
Citing sources, Mail Today reported that the Indian worker had regular access to the most sensitive areas in the mission, especially the sealed off fourth floor, which has offices of top officials including India's ambassador to China.
An initial inquiry, which included a check of his phone records, suggested that no sensitive information was passed on to the Chinese national, and the security of the Indian embassy in Beijing was not breached.
Officials interviewed by Mail Today suggest that relationships between Indian workers and foreign national are not a rare occurrence, and given concerns about security breaches, there is growing call for the MEA to be more transparent about dealing with such cases instead of quietly transferring the person.
"Officials should be held accountable and not simply moved from one post to another," TCA Rangachari, who was India's ambassador to France and Germany, told Mail Today. "There is active connivance and collusion of officers locally and at the headquarters to protect individuals within the system, and they continue with their career virtually unimpeded."
Speaking to Mail Today, Rangachari said that lower-level officials are often posted without their families, and they may not even have access to sensitive information, but it is the affairs of senior officials that are routinely hushed up.
"When you have families there and are still indulging in such things and holding more sensitive information, that should be of far more concern," he said.
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