A Delhi-based freelance journalist who passed sensitive information about India’s border strategy and army deployment to Chinese intelligence has been arrested.
It has been reported that he had been giving sensitive information to China in exchange for hefty amounts of money since 2016.
The Delhi Police said that a Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate have also been caught and claimed that they were paying hefty amounts of money to the freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma for allegedly leaking sensitive information.
“Special Cell has arrested a freelance journalist, Rajeev Sharma, for passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. One Chinese lady and her Nepalese associate have also been arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies. Chinese intelligence tasked the journalist for conveying sensitive information in lieu of large amounts of money,” the police said.
“Huge number of mobile phones, laptops and other incriminating and sensitive material have been recovered,” the police said.
Mr Sharma, a resident of Delhi’s Pitampura, is a journalist accredited with the Press Information Bureau (PIB). He was arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Monday.
Sharma had access in various ministries and was a part of the media circle with good contacts and so had access to a lot of information, which he passed on to China for money.
A police source said, “During questioning, Sharma disclosed that he was about to send critical information on the current India-China stand-off along with secret documents to his handlers in China.
“He had collected some documents and critical information to be passed on. He disclosed that he was about to send these recovered secret documents to his handlers in exchange for money,” senior police officer Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said.
According to the police, Mr Sharma was being paid $1,000 for each piece of information and thus he was paid ₹ 30 lakh in one-and-a-half years. He wrote on defence-related issues for China’s Global Times and was contacted by Chinese agents in 2016, the police said.
The arrests came amid heightened border tensions between India and China. The main reason for which China is not removing their troops from the Galwan Valley is because India is building roads and airfields to improve transport links and narrow the gap with China’s superior infrastructure on its side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
India has prepared itself to deal with the war-like situation against China. As tensions on the Indo-China border continue to escalate, India has increased the number of armies on the border.