Rajeev Sharma, a freelance journalist was arrested by Delhi Police on September 14 for sharing crucial information about India’s border strategy and Army deployment to the Chinese intelligence agencies. Following that, two more persons were arrested in connection with the case, Chinese agent Qing Shi and her Nepali Associate Sher Singh. He is also reported to have written for the Global Times which is the mouthpiece of the Communist Party of China for many years.
Now, Global Times has come out in his defence. Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Chinese state media, wrote, “I think It’s very inappropriate for the Indian side to publicly link Global Times to this case and to create a sensation to attract attention. They have obviously failed to show due respect to a Chinese media outlet. And it is particularly improper for the Indian government to do so.”
Claiming that the linking Rajeev Sharma with Global Times would create a ‘negative association’ against the state media, Hu Xijin said, “Global Times has published many reports and opinion articles on China-India border tensions. I know some Indians have been unhappy with us. They can criticize us openly or argue with us, but it’s meaningless to play such a petty trick.” He also insinuated that Sharma’s links to Global Times is being ‘hyped up’ because of the ongoing tensions between India and China.
Certain Indian journalists have also come out in his support. NDTV ‘Journalist’ Arvind Gunasekar argued that the arrested of Rajeev Sharma was against press freedom.
Gargi Rawat, news anchor at NDTV, said that Rajeeb Sharma was arrested under the ‘draconian’ Official Secrets Act.
Special Cell DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, at a press conference on Saturday, said that Rajeev Sharma was contacted by Chinese Intelligence agents in 2016 for carrying out spying for them. He also added that Sharma was in touch with some Chinese intelligence officer and had received Rs 40 lakhs in the last 18 months as he was being given $1,000 for passing on each sensitive information. The police official revealed that Chinese intelligence had tasked the journalist for conducting espionage activities in lieu of large amounts of money and luxury holidays.
The police have recovered classified documents from him, the DCP added. The information conveyed were related to Army movements, Defence acquisitions, Dalai Lama, foreign policy etc. As per the interrogation by the police, Rajeev Sharma had disclosed that he had provided information on issues like India-Bhutan-China trijunction including Doklam, Galwan Valley, Indian-Myanmar military co-operation, India-China boundary issues and other related matters.