Even as the Indian army is currently engaged in a tense border standoff with China, an Indian journalist has been arrested for passing defense and strategic information to Chinese intelligence officials.
Rajeev Sharma, a freelance journalist who wrote for The Quint, DailyO and other publications, has been arrested under the Official Secrets Act for passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. A Chinese woman & her Nepalese associate were also arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies, the Delhi Police said. “Journalist Rajeev Sharma was involved in passing sensitive defence & strategic information to Chinese intelligence officers from 2016 to 2018. He used to meet them at several locations in different countries,” said Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP, Special Cell Delhi Police.
Rajeev Sharma had written several articles for far-left publication The Quint, and many of them were on India-China relations. In an article written in July 2017 titled “China’s OBOR Juggernaut Rolls On as a Mute India Watches,” Rajeev Sharma had spoken about how several countries had joined China’s One Belt One Road initiative, while India was waiting on the sidelines. In another article written in April 2018, Rajeev Sharma had said how “PM Modi May Win Back Trust if China Hands Over Nirav Modi to India.” Rajeev Sharma had also written extensively on PM Modi’s trip to China, writing on what India should expect from the visit. In another article, Rajeev Sharma had written about the talks between Ajit Doval and his Chinese counterpart, attempted to present both the Indian and the Chinese positions and speculated on how they might negotiate.
But the Delhi Police now alleges that Rajeev Sharma was not only receiving money from the Chinese, but also presenting Chinese intelligence officials with sensitive defence data. The Quint, for which he was a regular contributor, has often been under the scanner for publishing articles that might be construed to be against Indian interests. In the past, The Quint has carried an article exploring dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden’s roles as a father and a husband. Another article from The Quint had called terrorist Mohammad Rafi Bhat a “humble, soft-spoken scholar” who’d become a militant after he’d witnessed the unrest in Kashmir.