Rakesh Krishnan Simha, a New Zealand-based journalist for Russia Beyond the Headlines, has posted a series of tweets narrating his views on Rajeev Sharma, the freelance journalist who was arrested on the charges of passing on secret documents to China.
Thread on journalist Rajeev Sharma who has been arrested by the Delhi Police for spying for China.— Rakesh Krishnan Godse (@ByRakeshSimha) September 19, 2020
1. In 2011 I started writing for Russia Beyond, a Russian government media outlet. 90% of my stories were on defence.https://t.co/vAObyhb0cs
Simha started writing as a defence journalist for Russia Beyond in 2011. His stories got a lot of traction from the Lutyens media, but he was happy as readers loved his defence stories. He alleged that several Lutyens journalists begged RBTH for a regular column. As he was in good rapport with Russian editors, they kept informing him about the Lutyens journalists who tried to steal his job.
Simha said that some of the Lutyens journalists even alleged they have personal connections with Sonia Gandhi, defence secretary, or IAF chief and they can provide exclusives, etc. One such journalist was Rajeev Sharma. Simha, in his Twitter thread, said that the Russian editors described him as one of the shadiest writers they have ever dealt with. Sharma claimed that he had connections in the Defence Ministry. On the guarantee of four articles a month, he promised “Pulitzer stuff.”
6. Among such characters was Rajeev Sharma. The Russian editors described him as one of the shadiest writers to have ever approached them. He claimed direct links in the Defence Ministry. His offer was: Give me guaranteed 4 articles a month and I’ll give you Pulitzer stuff. 😂— Rakesh Krishnan Godse (@ByRakeshSimha) September 19, 2020
RBTH decided to test him, and as expected, his stories were not worth it. He wrote every story based on the quotes given by a “senior defence minister bureaucrat.” When Simha inquired why RBTH allowed Sharma to write, he was informed that there was one editor who allowed such Lutyens journalists to write for the paper.
Sharma sailed in two boats
Rajeev Sharma was writing for Russian media and Chinese media at the same time. He would write a story in Russian media and then spin it for the Chinese media to match their narrative. For instance, he wrote in favour of India-Russia defence deals in RBTH but later spun the narrative to show it negatively for Global Times.
10. Rajeev Sharma would write one thing in the Russian media and the exact opposite in Global Times. For instance, he wrote a story for RBTH on why Russia was India’s best defence partner. Days later he spun the same story as a negative. 👇🏽https://t.co/wioxTVi9YM— Rakesh Krishnan Godse (@ByRakeshSimha) September 19, 2020
When Simha informed RBTH about his actions, the agency fired Sharma. Later, Sharma started writing for another Russian agency RT where he wrote stories again based on fake quotes. This time he used MEA’s name in place of Defence Ministry with his quotes. Simha was informed by his editor that the Russian embassy would talk to RT about Sharma.
Sharma was often called a “scamster” or “scumbag.”
Simha, in his tweets, alleged that whoever had dealt with Rajeev mentioned him as a scamster or a scumbag. Somehow Rajeev kept on writing for several media outlets, including First Post, DailyO, The Quint, and several others. This might be the reason Chinese government intelligence agencies approached him. Though his contacts in MEA or Defence Ministry were weak, they had access to classified documents of their higher-ups.
14. Rajeev Sharma was always referred to as either a “scamster” or “scumbag” by people who dealt with him. After becoming persona non grata in Russia, he sold his snake oil to First Post, a den of liberal, secular and anti Indian journalists.— Rakesh Krishnan Godse (@ByRakeshSimha) September 20, 2020
Simha alleged that it is common for the top bureaucrats to leave classified documents on their desks while going for lunch or a meeting. Their peons often have full access to such documents in their absence. Sharma was likely in contact with a few such contacts to gain access to secret documents.
Rajeev Sharma is just the tip of the iceberg
Simha said that though Rajeev had access to secret documents, he is most likely a bottom feeder. People like Shekhar Gupta, N.Ram, Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat, and Rahul Gandhi are more dangerous as they have greater access to official secrets. Rakesh pointed out the Rafale document that The Hindu procured and published. He said, “It had markings and notes by a hierarchy of senior bureaucrats. You can imagine why former KGB general Oleg Kalugin once said, “India leaked like a sieve. The entire country was up for sale.””
18. But Rajeev Sharma is most likely a bottom feeder. The real heavyweights of espionage are likely to be people like Shekhar Gupta, N.Ram, Sitamaram Yechury, Brinda Karat and Rahul Gandhi who have much greater access to official secrets.— Rakesh Krishnan Godse (@ByRakeshSimha) September 20, 2020
Rakesh Simha urged to sentence spies like Rajeev Sharma for life without parole and not for 6-8 years with parole in 3 years. He said, “Like termites, traitors destroy the country from within. They pose a greater threat than external enemy.”
Arrest of Rajeev Sharma
On 14th September Rajeev Sharma, a freelance journalist, was arrested by Delhi for allegedly sharing sensitive information about Army deployment to the Chinese intelligence agencies. Sharma had written for several media outlets including DailyO, Global Times, The Quint, First Post and others. During the interrogation, police found that China paid him for the documents via shell companies. Two days later, one Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate were arrested who were working with Sharma.