Journalist was passing sensitive information to China: police

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PTI

New Delhi

The Delhi Police on Saturday said arrested freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma was allegedly passing sensitive information about India’s border strategy, Army’s deployment and procurement, and foreign policy to Chinese intelligence agencies.

At a press conference, Special Cell DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said that police are investigating what information Sharma had allegedly passed on to Chinese intelligence officers through his social media accounts and email ID.

Based on Sharma’s statement during interrogation, a Chinese woman Qing Shi and her Nepalese associate Sher Singh alias Taj Bohra were arrested on Saturday morning, police said.

“Both, the Chinese woman and her associate were directors of shell companies in Delhi’s Mahipalpur area and they would export medicines to China and in return, would get huge money which they gave to their agents here,” Yadav said.

Police said that the 61-year-old journalist, who has been booked under Official Secrets Act, had also been asked by Chinese intelligence officers to provide information related to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

 “A secret input was recently received from an intelligence agency that Rajeev Sharma is having links with foreign intelligence officer and he has been receiving funds from his handler through illegal means…For conveying sensitive information which concerns national security and foreign relations,” police said.

Sharma was allegedly contacted by Chinese intelligence officer Michael in 2016 and the scribe shared sensitive information with him till 2018, the DCP said. He came in contact with Michael through a social media platform and later, also visited China where lucrative offers were made, the police officer said, adding Sharma allegedly started giving sensitive defence information to Chinese intelligence. Michael had also borne all expenses on Sharma’s visit to China, police claimed.

“During the period from 2010 to 2014, Sharma wrote a weekly column for Global Times, widely known as a mouthpiece of the Chinese government. Observing those columns, Michael from Kunming city of China contacted Sharma and invited him to Kunming city for an interview in a media company,” police said in a statement. Police said that Sharma had also visited Thailand and Nepal to meet Chinese intelligence officers.