Reacting to freelance journalist, Rajeev Sharma’s arrest by the Delhi Police, the Press Club of India expressed shock and demanded that the Press Council be informed of any and all arrests of journalists throughout the country.
“This (arrest of Rajeev Sharma) is on account of the dubious track record of the Special Branch. More generally also, the record of Delhi Police is hardly a shining one. On the basis of the statement of the police released to the media, we have no hesitation in saying that the police action is high-handed, and may be inspired by obscure or questionable considerations,” the Press Club of India statement read.
Quoting prior examples of journalists like Iftikhar Gilani being arrested on similar charges, which were later found to be false, the Club questioned the Delhi Police’s track record, especially that of the Special Cell and its recent spate of arrests made under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act .
“Of late, Delhi Police, including its Special Branch, have made preposterous arrests under the lawless law called Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in which the word of the government is enough to keep an innocent person behind bars for long periods. These have happened in matters relating to anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests and the carefully designed communal killings in the so-called February 2020 riots in northeast Delhi,” the statement said. The Club also accused Delhi Police of “acting on a political basis.”
Delhi Police’s Special Cell arrested freelance Journalist Rajeev Sharma for allegedly passing “sensitive information” to Chinese intelligence agencies. The arrested scribe was allegedly passing information about Army deployment along the Line of Control (LoC) and India's border strategy to Chinese intelligence.
Delhi Police Press Release
Delhi Police has claimed that Chinese intelligence agencies paid Sharma 40-Lakh in the last one-and-a-half years. "He (Rajeev Sharma) was found to be in possession of some classified defence-related documents. The investigation is in progress and further details will be shared in due course," Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said on Friday.
The Delhi Police also said that it has arrested a Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate and claimed that they were paying huge amounts of money to Sharma.
"One Chinese lady and her Nepalese associate have also been arrested for paying him (Rajeev Sharma) large amounts of money routed through shell companies. Chinese intelligence tasked the journalist for conveying sensitive information in lieu of large amounts of money. Huge number of mobile phones, laptops and other incriminating/sensitive material have been recovered," the police claimed.