Delhi HC grants bail to journalist Rajeev Sharma in espionage case

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested in an espionage case under the Official Secrets Act for allegedly leaking sensitive information to Chinese intelligence officers.

Justice Yogesh Khanna granted bail to the 61-year-old on the technical ground that the Delhi police had not filed the charge sheet in the case within the stipulated 60 days period after arrest.

“The petitioner is thus entitled to default bail, the challan having not been filed within 60 days,” the High Court said while also setting aside a trial court order dismissing his bail plea.

The High Court directed Mr. Sharma to provide his contact number and address to the Station House Officer concerned. He will also have to keep open his location app in his mobile at all times and shall not leave the NCR of Delhi without the permission of the trial court.

Mr. Sharma had moved the High Court after his plea for bail was dismissed by a magisterial court on September 28 and by a sessions court on October 19. The sessions court had dismissed his bail plea noting that sufficiently grave and incriminating material was available on record against him.

Police had earlier said they had received an input from an intelligence agency that Mr. Sharma, a resident of Pitampura, was having links with a foreign intelligence officer and had been receiving money through illegal means and international transfer. Following this, a case under the Official Secrets Act was registered on September 13 and he was arrested the next day.

According to the police, during a search of his house, several articles and sensitive or confidential documents related to the Indian defence department were recovered. Police had said that Mr. Sharma procured secret/confidential/sensitive documents and sent the same to his handlers (Chinese intelligence officers) based in China. In lieu, he was getting money through illegal means such as hawala transactions or funds routed through shell companies being run or operated by Chinese nationals, in Delhi.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 2:25:01 AM |

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