The Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), alleging he had possession of classified defence-related documents. Delhi police officials stated that the journalist was arrested for passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence.
“One Chinese lady and her Nepalese associate were also arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies. Chinese intelligence tasked the journalist for conveying sensitive information in lieu of large amounts of money. A huge number of mobile phones, laptops and other incriminating/sensitive material recovered,” read the statement.
What Does the Initial Probe Reveal?
Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP, Special Cell Delhi Police said that Rajeev Sharma was involved in passing sensitive defence and strategic information to Chinese intelligence officers from 2016 to 2018.
He was arrested based on inputs from central agencies. Based on his interrogation details, one Chinese and one Nepali nationals were arrested. The Chinese national had come to India for studies and she had taken admission in a central university in 2014 and since then she has been living in New Delhi.
She had set up a shell company to pay him for the information he was providing and close Rs 40 lakh were paid to him, police said.
In a statement, DCP Yadav has also said that Sharma disclosed his involvement in procurement of “secret/sensitive information” and conveying it to his Chinese handlers during interrogation. The statement says that Sharma has done the same in return of “handsome remuneration” in the past.
Police said the nature of the information provided by him is under investigation. However, they added that he had access to key ministries and had a Public Information Bureau pass as well.
Arrested Chinese national Qing Shi.
(Photo: Delhi police)
Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra
(Photo: Delhi police)
Arrested on 14 September
Police said he was arrested on 14 September and produced before a magistrate the next day. He was taken into police custody for six days. His bail application has been listed in Patiala House Court for 22 September.
The arrested journalist, Rajeev Sharma, has previously worked with United News of India, The Tribune, and Sakaal Times. The Indian Express reported that he most recently wrote a piece for the Chinese newspaper Global Times.
DCP (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav saying : “He is a resident of Pitampura, and was arrested by the southwestern range of Special Cell of the Delhi Police. He was produced before the magistrate the next day, following which he was taken into police custody for six days. He was found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents. Investigation of the case is in progress.”
Hours before his arrest Sharma had uploaded two videos his YouTube channel called ‘Rajeev Kishkindha’. One of them is an eight-minute video titled ‘China may still do mischief #IndiaChinaFaceOff’, in which he says, “Despite an agreement… reached between the foreign ministers of India and China, the road to peace is still heavily mined. There is still no guarantee that everything will play out as per the script reached between the two foreign ministers in Moscow,” The Indian Express reported.
In the second video, in Hindi, he is seen saying: “The state of Indian media today is pathetic. It was supposed to be a watchdog. Instead, it has become a lapdog of the government.”
The police has said that they are conducting a forensic analysis of seized mobile phones and laptop to unearth the network.
(With inputs from The Indian Express)