Updated: November 19, 2020 10:13:07 am
A Delhi court has dismissed the bail application of journalist Rajeev Sharma, arrested under the Official Secrets Act, observing that “actions which involve helping an enemy State against India are strongly condemned”.
Sharma was arrested on September 14 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, which alleged that he was “found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents“. A Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate were also arrested for allegedly paying him money routed through shell companies.
Metropolitan Magistrate Vasundhra Chhaunkar on Monday dismissed Sharma’s bail application.
Senior Advocate Dr Asish C Aggarwal, who appeared for him, told the court that the 60-day period expired on November 12 and police are yet to file a chargesheet, hence the accused is entitled to bail.
Additional Public Prosecutor Irfan Ahmed, who appeared on behalf of the State, told the court that the “documents recovered from the accused have been verified from the Director General of Military Intelligence, where they have classified the documents as confidential, and the possession of the same has been declared as unauthorised possession”.
Ahmed also argued that such unauthorised disclosure of these documents “could be prejudicial to National Interests or would embarrass the government in its functioning and the contents contained in the document are directly or indirectly connected with the security matter of the country”.
The court in its order said, “Considering the nature of extensive investigation required in such serious offences and above observations, this court has no hesitation in holding that the right of default bail has not been accrued in favour of the accused… The object of the Official Secret Act should also be kept in mind, which is National Security, where the actions which involve helping an enemy State against India are strongly condemned…”
“… National Security is of paramount importance and, therefore, the Legislature enacted this Special Act providing strict punishment of imprisonment extendable to 14 years for offence under Section 3 of the said Act,” the court said.
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