Journalist spying case: Delhi Police makes 2 more arrests, including Chinese woman
Police have registered a case under the Official Secrets Act against Rajeev Sharma and the Chinese and Nepalese nationals have been arrested under the same chargesUpdated: Sep 19, 2020, 17:40 IST
The Delhi police on Saturday said that journalist Rajeev Sharma, who was arrested on charges of spying two days ago, was allegedly passing on sensitive information to Chinese intelligence agencies. They added a Chinese woman, Qing Shi, and a Nepalese man, Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra, have been booked along with Sharma under the Official Secrets Act after classified documents were recovered from their possession.
Sanjeev Yadav, the deputy commissioner of police (special cell), said Sharma was allegedly in contact with a Chinese intelligence official named Michael and passed on to him classified information related to Indian army deployments in the China-Bhutan-India tri-junction including Doklam. Yadav said Sharma had also allegedly given him information related to India-Myanmar military cooperation and other details about the border between India and China.
Police said Sharma was allegedly paid around $500 for each assignment and claimed that he had received around Rs 3 million since 2019. They did not specify how much he was allegedly paid before 2019. The payments, police said, were made through hawala, shell companies, and Western Union money transfers.
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Police said that between 2010-2014, Sharma wrote for the Global Times (China). “Observing his columns, one Chinese intelligence agent named Michael from Kunming city of China contacted Sharma through his LinkedIn account and invited him to Kunming, China, for an interview in a Chinese Media Company. The entire trip was funded by Michael. During the meeting, Michael and his junior Xou asked Rajeev Sharma to provide inputs on various aspects of India-China relations. Between 2016 to 2018, Rajeev Sharma was in contact with Michael and Xou,” Yadav said.
The officer said Sharma had meetings with Michael and Xou in Laos and the Maldives once and briefed them. Besides these visits, Sharma was also allegedly in contact with Michael and Xou through e-mail and social media, police said.
Detailing Sharma’s alleged role after 2018, the special cell officer said, “In January 2019, Sharma came in contact with another Kunming-based Chinese entity named George. He visited Kunming via Kathmandu and met George. George was introduced as a general manager of a Chinese Media Company. During the meeting, George asked Rajeev Sharma to write and inform about issues related to the Dalai Lama. For this, he was offered $500 per article. George told Sharma that they would send him money through his company’s sister concern based in Mahipalpur, South Delhi, being operated by Qing.”
Yadav said Sharma was paid through shell companies. “Shell companies were operated by foreign intelligence to transfer funds to him. Two Chinese nationals -- Jhang Chang and his wife Chang-li-lia -- were running the companies MZ Pharmacy and MZ Malls, under fake names Suraj and Usha. They are both presently in China and on their behalf, Qing Shi and Bhora, a Nepali National (both directors of MZ Pharmacy) are presently operating the business from Mahipalpur.”
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Sharma was arrested on September 14. Police said he was found in possession of confidential defence documents. He was produced before a court on September 15 and sent in police custody for six days. Sharma has filed a bail application, which will be heard on September 22.