An IT engineer in Caterpillar's engineering design centre in India has been arrested on suspicion of stealing 4,000 confidential documents from the company's server in the US.
The former employee is said to have used another employee's username and password to access and steal the documents. He was arrested by India's Cyber Crime Cell team while working at another company.
He has been charged with hacking offences. The employee had worked at Caterpillar's design centre in Chennai.
The documents said to have been illegally downloaded at the beginning of the year were on a server located in Illinois.
The man was working at another firm located near Bangalore at the time of his arrest.
The case will do nothing to calm fears that outsourcing operations to offshore centres in poor countries can encourage data theft for financial gain.
Last year, the media exposed a number of alleged data thefts from Indian customer service centres serving British firms.