By Ananya Bhatnagar and Aakanksha Khajuria
Freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma arrested under the Official Secrets Act has claimed innocence, telling a Delhi court in his bail plea that he did not commit any crime but framed in a false case.
A Patiala House court is likely to hear the matter on Tuesday.
“The applicant is being framed in a false case. The applicant has not committed any offence,” Sharma said in his plea filed through advocate Amish Aggarwala.
The plea also said that Sharma was taken into custody by the Delhi Police Special Cell, Janakpuri, on September 14. His house was searched by police on September 14 night and “no incriminating evidence was found”.
According to the Delhi Police, Sharma was arrested by the Special Cell under the OSA on charge of passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. A Chinese woman and a Nepalese man too have been arrested in the case.
Sharma’s bail plea pointed out that he suffers from various medical ailments, including high blood pressure, for over a decade.
“The applicant is about 61 years of age, and is suffering from acute case of sinus, and requires constant treatment through a nebuliser. He has also undergone two surgeries for the same. Due to the same, he is at high risk to COVID-19… he is also a patient of high blood pressure, and taking medication (Triolmezest) for the same for the past decade,” Sharma said in his bail plea.
The petitioner said Sharma’s family had not been allowed access to him, nor any information regarding the allegations against him furnished.
“No copy of the FIR is uploaded online. Despite multiple requests, the police has not furnished a copy of the FIR,” the plea added.
Sharma also claimed that he had deep roots in society, and was a respected senior journalist.
“His wife is an Associate Professor at the Venkateswara College, Delhi University. Therefore, there is no risk of him running away from the process of justice,” said the plea.
The Special Cell arrested the senior journalist and alleged that he was working for the Chinese intelligence.
During his police custody, Chinese Qing Shi and her Nepalese partner Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra were also arrested on charge of giving Sharma huge amounts of money routed through hawala channels for conveying sensitive information to the Chinese Intelligence,” Sanjeev Yadav, DCP Special Cell, had said.
Police had claimed that a few days ago, a secret input was received from an intelligence agency that Rajeev Sharma of St Xavier Apartment in Pitampura had links with foreign intelligence officers and was receiving funds from his handlers through illegal means and Western Union money transfers platform for conveying sensitive information, which concerns national security and foreign relations.
A case under Section 3, 4, and 5 of the Official Secrets Act was registered on September 13 by Special Cell police station. Sharma was arrested on September 14 and a search warrant obtained to search his residence by Delhi Police.