11 July 2011

Phone hacking scandal: HCL denies it destroyed emails

Indian IT major HCL Technologies has denied allegations that emails belonging to its client, News International -- which is at the centre of a string of phone-hacking scandals -- were destroyed at its Chennai office.

HCL's client News International owns the 'News of the World' tabloid, and the Indian IT major manages its IT infrastructure based on an IT outsourcing agreement signed in 2009.

During a perjury trial involving former Scottish Socialist Party leader Tommy Sheridan, it was stated that News International's email data had been destroyed in HCL's Chennai office.

However, it was later discovered that the emails were stored in a warehouse in London.

Earlier this week, during a three-hour debate in the House of Commons on the phone hacking issue, Labour MP Tom Watson said there had been an attempt to destroy News International data at the HCL storage facility in Chennai, India.

Lawyers for Tommy Sheridan now want his conviction for perjury to be reviewed in view of the revelation that News International emails had not been destroyed in Chennai and were in fact lodged in a warehouse in London.

However, HCL Technologies said, "In light of some regrettable comments made over the last few days, we categorically confirm that HCL Technologies does not and has not stored any data either in the UK or anywhere else in the world."

"Accordingly, it is wholly impossible for there to have been any destruction of data held by HCL, and any suggestion to the contrary is misleading," it added.

HCL said it strongly adhered to, follows, and respect the data privacy of both customers and authorities in the countries where it operates.

"Over the past two months, we have been fully co-operating with the Metropolitan Police at the request of News International. Due to ongoing investigations and client confidentiality, HCL Technologies cannot under any circumstances, go into further details on this matter at this stage," Indian IT company added.