An Indian journalist who was arrested in March for trying to smuggle his fellow citizens into Australia, would continue to remain in jail for at least the next six months, owing to the adjournment of his case, Associated Press has reported. The journalist named Rakesh Kumar Sharma, hails from Chandigarh, and used to work for a newspaper.
He was arrested at the tail end of March, when he and eight other Indians formed a “fake media contingent” to try and enter Australia under the pretext of covering the Commonwealth Games. They were questioned by the Australian Border Force after landing at Brisbane, following which they were flagged as non-genuine travellers.
Later a statement was issued by the border police claiming that eight individuals were found to be carrying fake media credentials. They thus alleged that Rakesh, the sole mediaperson whose credentials were found to be genuine, was facilitating the group’s travel. He has also been accused of filling a forged form which would have helped his group to get stay visas in the country.
He was thus charged for “smuggling people” and “having fake documents or information relating to non-citizens”. Following this, he was taken into police custody, and seems be scheduled to remain there for a while. The other eight members of his fake media group, aged between 19 and 37, though escaped arrest and were placed in an immigration detention centre.
Following Sharma’s arrest, Queensland deputy police commissioner had commented that the arrest affirmed the efficiency of the system in place to prevent illegals from arriving into the country by using the Commonwealth games as a pretext.
With his case now being adjourned till 22 June, Sharma would continue to remain in the custody of the Brisbane Magistrates Court. If found guilty, he may face up to 20 years in prison.