CBI files charge sheet against freelance defence journalist, ex-Navy commander in alleged spying case

The CBI has named Raghuvanshi and Pathak as accused in the alleged violation of the Official Secrets Act and related offences

July 12, 2023 08:11 pm | Updated 09:14 pm IST - New Delhi


File. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday filed a chargesheet against freelance defence journalist Vivek Raghuvanshi and former Navy commander Ashish Pathak, who were arrested in May for alleged involvement in espionage.

According to the agency, Mr. Raghuvanshi had received about ₹3 crore from foreign sources over a period of time.  

The CBI has accused the journalist of illegally collecting minute details of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) defence projects and their progress.

Information about the future procurement to be made for the Indian armed forces, which revealed the country’s strategic preparedness; classified communications linked to national security; details about the strategic and diplomatic talks of India with its friendly countries were also accessed by the accused and shared with the foreign intelligence agencies, the CBI has alleged.

After registering the case, the agency had conducted searches at 15 locations in and around Delhi and Rajasthan’s Jaipur, and seized 48 electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones hard disks and pen drives belonging to Mr. Raghuvanshi and others related to him. The stored digital data was analysed.

“...a number of incriminating documents related to Indian defence establishments have also been seized. The data stored in cloud-based accounts/emails/social media accounts belonging to the accused and others have also been recovered by the digital forensic experts of the CBI...the accused and his associate, a former Navy commander currently working with a private firm, were in possession of classified secret document related to Indian defence establishments,” the CBI had earlier said.

The scrutiny of digital devices seized by the agency revealed that the accused journalist was collecting confidential information about India’s defence procurement from different sources and was in contact with several foreign entities, agents and persons. He had entered into contracts or agreements with multiple foreign entities for sharing confidential information, it alleged.

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