London: Indian IT major HCL Technologies on Monday informed UK's Home Affairs Committee that it was aware of the deletion of hundreds of thousands of emails at the request of Rupert Murdoch's News International between April 2010 and July 2011, but said it was not responsible for the deletion.

In a letter to committee chairman Keith Vaz, the HCL revealed that it had been involved in nine separate episodes of email deletion, but added that it was not responsible for emails on the News International system that are older than a couple of weeks.

It said that another unnamed vendor was responsible, but confirmed that it had co-operated with this vendor in deleting material, according to a report in The Guardian.

News International is currently embroiled in the phone-hacking controversy.

In an earlier legal case involving Scottish leader Tom Sheridan, it was stated that the company's emails had been lost by its IT provider in India.

However, through a letter from HCL's solicitors Stuart Benson, the company said: "My client is aware of nothing which appeared abnormal, untoward or inconsistent with its contractual role...It is entirely for News International, the police and your committee as to whether there was any other agenda or subtext when issues of deletion arose and that is a matter on which my client cannot comment and something you will no doubt wish to explore direct with News International."

It stressed that since it was not the company that stored News International's data "any suggestion or allegation that it has deleted material held on behalf of News International is without foundation".

HCL identified three sets of email deletions in April 2010, including a deletion of a public folder of a live email system that "was owned by a user who no longer needed the emails".

A further 200,000 emails stuck in an outbox were deleted in May 2010 to restore email functionality.

In September 2010 a further pruning of historic emails occurred to help stabilise the email archival system, which had been having "frequent outages" since November 2009.

In January 2011 HCL was asked about its ability to truncate a particular database in the email archival systems. HCL "answered in the negative and suggested assistance from the third party vendor". HCL stated no reason as to why it was unable to assist.

In February 2011 emails were deleted in an older version of Microsoft.

Finally, in July 2011 HCL helped delete emails from the live system as relocation errors had occurred during migration from one system to the other.

HCL said it did not have the resources to review every set of deletions.

The Home Affairs Committee had asked three questions in his letter to HCL Technologies: "Whether News International currently holds or has ever held a contract with HCL Technologies? Whether HCL Technologies holds emails for News International within its storage facilities in India? If News International has ever requested HCL Technologies to delete any of these emails?"

(Agencies)