On offences carrying a lighter punishment of three years

A trial court here on Saturday framed charges against suspended Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta on offences carrying a lighter punishment of three years as the Delhi Police were unable to establish a case that could get her a maximum punishment of 14 years.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain charged Gupta under Sections 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act for alleged spying and supplying information to an ISI agent when she was posted in Islamabad.

“There is sufficient evidence on record to make a case against the accused for offences under Section 3 (1) (Part-II) and Section 5 of the Official Secrets Act and Section 120-B of the IPC,” the Judge said.

Under Section 3 of the Act, passing information relating to defence carries a maximum jail term of 14 years while those not amounting to work of defence carries a lighter jail term of three years, which she has been charged with.

The court fixed March 22 for starting the trial.

Madhuri Gupta, 55, has already spent 21 months behind bars as she was arrested on April 22, 2010, by the Special Cell of Delhi Police. She was posted as Second Secretary (Press & Information) at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. She has also been charged with breach of trust, criminal conspiracy and various other provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

It was alleged that she revealed certain classified information to Pakistani officials and was in touch with two ISI officials, Mubshar Raza Rana and Jamshed.

According to the charge sheet filed in July 2010, Gupta was involved in a relationship with Jamshed whom she planned to marry.

She used to communicate with Jamshed who had a code name ‘Jim'.

The diplomat was using a computer installed at her residence in Islamabad and a Blackberry phone to be in touch with the two Pakistani spies, it said.

Gupta, however, had refuted all the allegations levelled against her and had submitted that the said information is not sensitive and the alleged act of passing on information relating to country's internal security to the ISI “cannot be read as related to work of defence” under Section 3 of the Act.

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