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Delhi journalist arrested under OSA, police say had classified defence papers

Rajeev Sharma runs a YouTube channel called 'Rajeev Kishkindha', which has 11,900 subscribers. On the day of his arrest, he uploaded two videos.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 19, 2020 12:52:44 pm
Rajeev sharma espionage case, delhi journalist spy case, delhi journalist defence spy case, enforcement directorate, defence ministry, delhi police, delhi city newsThe investigating team will also be writing to the Enforcement Directorate to probe the alleged illegal financial transactions made by the accused persons. (File)

The Delhi Police Special Cell has arrested a city-based strategic affairs analyst and author under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) alleging that he had been found in possession of defence-related classified papers.

Rajeev Sharma, who has previously worked with United News of India, The Tribune, and Sakaal Times, and most recently wrote a piece for the Chinese newspaper Global Times, was arrested on September 14.

DCP (Special Cell) Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said, “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.”

Sharma runs a YouTube channel called ‘Rajeev Kishkindha’, which has 11,900 subscribers. On the day of his arrest, he uploaded two videos. One of them is an eight-minute video titled ‘China may still do mischief #IndiaChinaFaceOff’, in which he says, “Despite an agreement… reached between the foreign ministers of India and China, the road to peace is still heavily mined. There is still no guarantee that everything will play out as per the script reached between the two foreign ministers in Moscow.”

The other video is of four minutes, in Hindi, on the state of the media, which he tweeted with the caption, “The state of Indian media today is pathetic. It was supposed to be a watchdog. Instead it has become a lapdog of the government.”

Late on Friday night, Sharma’s Twitter account, which has over 5,300 followers, showed the following message: “Caution: This account is temporarily restricted. You’re seeing this warning because there has been some unusual activity from this account.”

On September 7, Sharma wrote a piece for Global Times, titled ‘A rapprochement road map for Beijing and New Delhi benefits both countries’, in which he said, “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.”

As per Sharma’s LinkedIn account, he has written many books. In May 2014, he wrote a piece for Firstpost titled ‘Why ex-IB chief Ajit Doval is the best NSA India could ever get’, in which he mentioned his “thousands of interactions with Doval”.

In the piece, he wrote, “Doval’s appointment should send jitters to Pakistan, particularly the likes of Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed and Sayeed Salahuddin.”

Sharma was one of the people who said last year that they had been alerted about their phones being targeted for surveillance through the Israeli spyware Pegasus.

“I got a WhatsApp message at 9.36 pm on October 29, saying my phone may have been at risk. The first call I got was from the Canada-based NGO 15-20 days ago… I was advised to change my phone,” Sharma had told The Indian Express at the time.

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