The Delhi Police have arrested a freelance journalist identified as Rajeev Sharma under the Official Secrets Act (OSA), who was found in possession of classified defence-related documents.
According to the reports, the special cell of the Delhi Police arrested Rajeev Sharma in connection with a case under the Official Secrets Act.
Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), confirming the arrest said that Rajeev was found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents. He added that an investigation is in progress and further details will be revealed soon.
According to the police, Rajeev was arrested on 14 September and interrogated during the police custody for six days. Later he was produced before a magistrate the next day. His bail application has been listed in Patiala House Court for 22 September.
Rajeev Sharma wrote for Chinese publications, The Quint, Dailyo
Sharma, who is a resident of Pitampura in Delhi, had earlier worked with United News of India, The Tribune, Free Press Journal, Saakaal and others as a journalist. As a journalist, Rajeev Sharma was covering defence and foreign affairs for around two decades.
According to journalist Aditya Raj Kaul, Rajeev Sharma had written several columns for Chinese newspaper Global Times, the mouthpiece of Communist Party of China for the last several years.
Story to be keenly followed for the next one week in India looking at the national security concerns at present. Interrogation of Rajeev Sharma underway. Delhi Police tight lipped. For last several years he often wrote columns for many publications including the @globaltimesnews. https://t.co/S97KFPYBNs— Aditya Raj Kaul (@AdityaRajKaul) September 18, 2020
Recently, Sharma had written a piece for Chinese newspaper Global Times, titled ‘A rapprochement road map for Beijing and New Delhi benefits both countries’, in which he had opined that, “The steady deterioration of bilateral relations since the night of May 5, when the latest standoff began, has practically evaporated all the diplomatic gains of the past years in one stroke. He had been writing for the Chinese mouthpiece newspaper for a long time.
The current crisis is the biggest threat to normal ties between the two sides since 1962. It’s a lose-lose situation for both. Their common objective must be to build a better and peaceful future for their peoples and not a military buildup against one another.”
In addition to Chinese publications, Sharma had also written columns with left-wing publications such as The Quint, DailyO etc. Sharma also runs a YouTube channel called ‘Rajeev Kishkindha’, which has around 11,900 subscribers.
Reportedly, Sharma was one of the few people who were allegedly alerted by Canada-based agency that their phones were compromised through their WhatsApp using Israeli cyber intelligence tool ‘Pegasus’. Sharma was reportedly alerted that his phone was under surveillance for about two weeks in May last year.
Following the arrest, Sharma’s Twitter account, which has over 5,300 followers, has been restricted.