The Indian outsourcers who run Rupert Murdoch’s internal email communications have told the world+dog that they were instructed to delete the outfit’s internal emails on nine occasions between April 2010 and July 2011.
According to the Jellygraph, HCL technologies said it did not know of anything “abnormal, untoward or inconsistent” behind the requests to delete them. Labour MP Tom Watson that there had been an attempt to destroy data at the HCL storage facility in Chennai in apparent efforts to cover up the scale of the phone hacking scandal.
Keith Vaz, the chairman of the home affairs select committee, said the fact that so many emails have been deleted at the request of News International raises a number of further questions which we will continue to probe the company.
In a letter sent from HCL by its brief Stuart Benson, the outfit said that it had been asked to delete emails nine times since April last year.
The letter said that it is up to News International, the police and Vaz’s committee as to whether there was any other agenda or subtext when issues of deletion arose. However HCL could not really comment.
HCL said it does not hold any data belonging to News International which is connected to computer and phone hacking.
All it had to do was manage the IT systems at News International “including servers, applications, databases, email systems networks etc”.
In the letter, HCL disclosed that News International asked three times for emails to be deleted in April last year. One request was for the deletion of email inboxes of people who had left the company, although this was not carried out.
It seems that HCL did not get any chance to delete some information. More than 200,000 emails and delivery failure messages were erased before HCL could “initiate any action”.
It said that emails of an employee who was still at the company were mysteriously deleted.
In May, 21,000 messages “which were apparently stuck in the outbox” were deleted, while in July another “public folder” of emails was erased.
Last September more emails were deleted as part of a programme to “prune the historic email archives”.