Journalist' Rajeev Sharma shared confidential information with Chinese security agencies. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) took custody of him after the Delhi Police arrested him.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached properties worth over 50 lakhs of 'journalist' Rajeev Sharma, who is facing allegations of supplying confidential information to Chinese security agencies. The action was taken under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). He is also facing charges under the stringent Official Secrets Act. If convicted, he faces more than ten years in prison.
"During the investigation, it was revealed that such remuneration to Rajeev Sharma was being provided by a Mahipalpur-based shell company that was run by Chinese nationals – Zhang Cheng alias Suraj, Zhang Lixia alias Usha and Qing Shi along with a Nepali national, Sher Singh alias Raj Bohara. This Chinese company was acting as a conduit for the Chinese intelligence agencies to provide remuneration for persons like Rajeev Sharma who are indulged in criminal activities," the ED said in a statement.
It added, "In addition to obtaining remuneration in cash, he also received remuneration in kind in the form of various paid foreign trips which were arranged by the Chinese intelligence agency's agents."
Multiple bank accounts of Sharma's associates were used to launder money. Sharma lives in Delhi's Pitampura with his wife, Pratima Vyas, a lecturer at Delhi University. They have a son who lives in the US.
In September 2019, Sharma was arrested by the Delhi Police after intelligence agencies alerted he was passing the country's confidential information to China, thereby "compromising the security and national interests of India". When he was arrested, the Delhi Police seized incriminating papers from his custody, including military strategy papers.
On January 7, the Delhi High Court had granted him bail. The ED had opposed the bail plea, arguing, "Since Sharma has enjoyed the proceeds of crime in various foreign countries through his foreign trips and expenses therein, the offence in the present case is an offence of cross-border implications as well."
When Sharma was arrested, DCP Special Cell Sanjiv Kumar Yadav had said, "Rajeev Sharma has been a journalist for 40 years. Since 2010, he has worked as a freelancer, writing for the Chinese media organisation Global Times. In 2016, he met a Chinese intelligence agent named Michael via LinkedIn."
He further added, "From 2016 to 2018, he gave documents related to India's security to Michael. In 2019, he came in contact with another Chinese intelligence officer named George, whom he gave information on the border tensions between India and China, the military's postings, army procurement, and the government's preparedness. He got a significant sum of money for sharing the information through hawala and other means."
In the last few years, Sharma had made multiple trips to foreign countries, which security agencies now say were paid for by the Chinese authorities.