The Government's information watchdog has been formally asked to re-open its investigation into News International's storage of archived emails after the company disclosed that it sends data to India and that some of it was deleted on the orders of executives in London.
Rupert Murdoch's newspaper group had previously denied evidence from a senior editor of the News of the World during the perjury trial of the Scottish politician Tommy Sheridan that a tranche of "lost" emails had been transferred to India, insisting instead that the data was held securely in Britain.
In July, the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) closed an inquiry into NI's email storage policies, saying it had accepted assurances from the company. The ICO noted NI's refusal to give "meaningful answers" to questions about the "lost" messages because of an outstanding appeal by Sheridan. Police are reportedly investigating whether a senior executive deleted millions of messages as recently as this January.
Lawyers for Sheridan have now asked the ICO to look again at the issue after it emerged that NI has stored data in India and that a contractor had been asked to delete emails between April 2010 and this July. In a letter to the ICO, Aamer Anwar, the solicitor representing Sheridan, said there had been "substantial developments" since its decision to close its investigation into News Group Newspapers.
The ICO said it was prepared to look again at its original investigation "if new information comes to light".
NI declined to comment.