New Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): A Delhi Court dismissed the bail plea of Freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma, who was recently arrested by Delhi Police under the Official Secrets Act, and observed if a journalist who is an important brick in the fourth pillar of democracy decides to act with the intention to destabilise and negatively impact the sustainability and survival of democracy, that would be the darkest day in the free press movement.
Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat, while rejecting the bail plea noted that if the accused released on bail at this stage, he may attempt to hamper the investigation.
The court also noted that the case file which includes not only the disclosure statement of the accused person but also other materials which were recovered at his instance coupled with the preliminary electronic evidence collected by the investigating agency points towards the involvement of the accused in the commission of offence under section 3/4 and 5 of Officials Secrets Act, 1923.
The court also said, "An independent press is stated to be the Fourth Pillar of democracy and journalist is an important brick in the said pillar of democracy. The foundation of democracy cannot be shaken if all the pillars of democracy including the Press works towards stability and growth. However, if a journalist who is an important brick in the fourth pillar of democracy decides to act with the intention to destabilise and negatively impact the sustainability and survival of democracy, that would be the darkest day in the free press movement."
Senior Advocate Adish C Aggarwala with lawyer Amish Aggarwala, appeared for Rajeev Sharma and stated that his client is being framed in a false case as he has not committed any offence.
Sharma's lawyer also submitted that his client is 61-year-old man, who is suffering from several medical ailments and there is high risk to keep him in custody during COVID-19 pandemic. Sharma's counsel said that there is no possibility of him fleeing from justice, influence witnesses or tamper with evidence.
Sharma was arrested by Special Cell under the official secrets Act, accusing him of passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. Sharma was arrested on September 14.
According to the police, a Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate were also arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies. Delhi Police Special Cell said Sharma, a resident of Pitampura in New Delhi, was "found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents. (ANI)