Doklam, Dalai Lama, troop posting: What info the Chinese demanded from arrested Delhi journalist
New Delhi, Sep 19: Delhi journalist Rajeev Sharma who was arrested by the Delhi Police was allegedly passing on sensitive information to the Chinese intelligence.
The Special Cell has also arrested one Chinese lady and her Nepalese associate for paying large amounts of money.The money was routed through shell companies, the police have also learnt.
The police said that they have arrested one Chinese lady, Qing Shi and her Nepalese partner, Sher Singh alias Raj Bohra.
Sharma is said to have been in possession of classified national documents. He has been sent to six days police custody. It is also alleged that he was tasked with conveying sensitive information in exchange for large amounts of money. The police have recovered sensitive material and also taken into their possession, his laptop, mobile and other incriminating material.
The journalist, Rajeev Sharma had earlier worked with United News of India, The Tribune, Sakaal Times. He had recently written a piece fo the Chinese newspaper Global Times.
"He is a resident of Pitampura, and was arrested by the southwestern range of Special Cell of the Delhi Police. He was produced before the magistrate the next day, following which he was taken into police custody for six days. He was found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents. Investigation of the case is in progress," DCP(Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said.
His piece in the Global Times titled, 'A rapprochement road map for Beijing and New Delhi benefits both countries,' he had said that the steady deterioration of bilateral relations since the night of May 5, when the latest standoff began, has practically evaporated all the diplomatic gains of the past years in one stroke.
The current crisis is the biggest threat to normal ties between the two sides since 1962. It's a lose-lose situation for both. Their common objective must be to build a better and peaceful future for their peoples and not a military buildup against one another.
Sharma runs a YouTube channel, Rajeev Kishkindha. On the day of his arrest,he had uploaded two videos. One of them was titled, 'China may still do mischief #IndiaChinaFaceOff.'
In this he had said that despite an agreement, reached between the two foreign ministers of India and China, the road to peace is still heavily mined. There is no guarantee that everything will play out as per the script reached between the two countries.
The other video in Hindi speaks about the state of the Indian media. It was meant to be a watchdog, but has become a lapdog of the government, he also said in the video. On Friday night, Sharma's Twitter account which has 5,300 followers showed the message, 'caution account is temporarily restricted. You're seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account.'
A secrete input was received that Sharma has links with the Foreign Intelligence Officer and he had been receiving funds through his handler through illegal means and Western Union money transfer platform. Following this the police arrested Sharma.
On interrogation, he disclosed his involved in the procurement of secret/sensitive information. He said that he conveyed the same to his Chinese handlers Michael and George based in Kunming, China. He also disclosed that he was about to convey these recovered secret documents to his handlers. In the past he had sent several documents in the form of reports to his handlers and got a good renumeration for the same.
Between 2010 and 2014, he wrote a weekly column for Global Times, the mouthpiece of the Chinese government. After observing these columns, his handlers contacted him on Linedin and invited him to Kunming, China for an interview in a Chinese Media Company.
The entire trip was funded by his handlers. During his visit, he was asked to provide inputs on the various aspects of Indo-China relations. Between 2016 and 2018, Sharma was in contact with Michael and was tasked to provide inputs on the employment of Indian troops on the Bhutan-Sikkim-China try-junction, including Doklam. He was also asked for information on the pattern of the India-Myanmar military cooperation, India China border issue etc.
He held meetings with Micheal at Maldives and gave them briefings about the above mentioned topics. He also kept in touch with his handlers thorough emails and the social media.
In January 2019, he came in contact with another Kunmimg based Chinese entity Geoge. He was introduced as a Chinese media company's general manager. He was asked to write and inform about issues related to the Dalai Lama and was offered 500 USD per article/information.
He was told that the money would be sent through the company's sister concern, based in Mahipal Pur in Delhi, which was operated by Qing. Sharma has received more than Rs 30 lakh in 10 instalments between January 2019 and September 2020, the Delhi Police said.
Further investigation also revealed that shell companies were being operated to transfer funds to Sharma. Chinese nationals, Jhang Chang and his wife Chang-li-lia were running companies MZ Pharmacy and MZ Malls under the fake names Suraj and Usha.
Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Cell Delhi, Sanjeev Kumar who gave out these details said that the forensic analysis of the seized mobile phones and laptops is being conducted to unearth the entire network and conspiracy in this case.