A court in Delhi on Monday extended journalist Rajeev Sharma’s custody by a week, in connection with a case registered against him under the Official Secrets Act, PTI reported. Sharma has been accused of passing on information about the Indian Army’s deployment and the country’s border strategy to Chinese intelligence.
Sharma was arrested by the Delhi police’s Special Cell on September 14 and produced before a local court the next day. The court had sent him to police custody for six days. The police alleged that he was found to be in possession of classified defence-related documents.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat also extended the custody of Sharma’s alleged associates – a Chinese woman and a Nepalese man – by seven days. The police had alleged that Sharma was being paid huge amounts of money by the two people for the classified information.
Sharma runs a YouTube channel called “Rajeev Kishkindha”, which has thousands of followers. On the day of his arrest, he uploaded two videos. One of the videos claimed that China would still do “mischief” despite talks with India amid border tensions. The other video deplored the state of journalism in the country.
The Press Club of India had on Saturday criticised the Delhi police for its “high-handed” action against Sharma. “We are astounded to hear of the arrest of Rajeev Sharma, a well-known independent journalist of long standing and a member of the Press Club of India,” it had said in a statement. “This is on account of the dubious track record of the Special Branch. More generally also, the record of Delhi Police is hardly a shining one.”
The group added that Sharma wrote on strategic affairs and may have accessed “routinely over-classified information on the Internet that is in the public domain.”