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Espionage case: Journalist Rajeev Sharma moves bail plea in Delhi Court

ANI | Updated: Nov 15, 2020 21:50 IST

New Delhi [India], November 15 (ANI): Journalist Rajeev Sharma, accused of espionage under the Official Secrets Act has moved a statutory bail application in a Delhi Court claiming Police have not filed the charge sheet in a specific timeframe.
Sharma and two others were arrested by Special Cell under the Official Secrets Act, accusing him of passing sensitive information to Chinese intelligence. Sharma was arrested on September 14.
The petition will be heard on Monday by the Court. The petition states that the applicant is innocent and a false case has been registered against him. The allegations in the FIR even prima facie does not disclose any offence. The document/information which has been allegedly seized from the petitioner are general documents and nothing relating to the Official Secrets Act. The petition submits that the court may itself peruse the said documents.
The plea also submitted that the investigating agency has alleged that material collected against the accused which includes information/document which poses a threat to national security and foreign relations. Document(s), if any seized are general documents and do not bear any bearing on national security and foreign relations, it added.
The plea further said: "Any general document cannot be termed as a threat, even prima facie, without the perusal of the said documents. It is strange that the Police have captioned the 79 documents secret defence documents without confirming it with the Ministry. No one from the Ministry of Defence has been named in the case. A person guilty unless there are substantial accusations having adequate proof. Any act of fair journalism can't be scuttled by imposing the draconian provisions of the OSA."

Delhi High Court also had recently directed Delhi Police to file a status report on the bail application of Rajeev Sharma moved by his counsels, Senior Advocate Adish C Aggarwala and advocates Aditya Singh and Akshat Goel. The high court had listed the matter for December 2 for further hearing.
Earlier Sharma's bail plea was dismissed by the trial court. The trial court had said, "Considering the seriousness of allegations, enormity of charge and the crucial juncture of the pending investigation, I am of the opinion that applicant/ accused does not deserve the indulgence of the court and his bail application is bereft of merits."
The trial court also noted that from the conduct of the family members of the accused, it is evident that they are attempting to influence the witnesses. Such an approach is really a cause of serious concern. The allegations against the accused are well-founded. Recovery of the sensitive documents viewed against receipt of money by the accused from tainted sources and his relationship with the foreign agents goes a long way against the plea of his innocence.
Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Dharmender Rana of the trial court had also said, "I am satisfied that there is sufficiently grave and incriminating material available on record against the applicant/accused. Upon perusal of the telegraph chat, statement of witnesses recorded under Section 164 Cr.P.C., information retrieved from the email account of the applicant accused and the nature of documents seized from the possession of the accused."
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)