May 19, 2018 4:23:10 am
Former diplomat Madhuri Gupta was on Friday convicted by a Delhi court for passing secret information to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) during her posting in Islamabad in 2010, eight years after she was arrested by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell. A bench of Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma held Gupta (61) guilty under various provisions of the Official Secrets Act (OSA), including spying and wrongful communication of classified information.
The court, however, acquitted Gupta of stringent provisions of OSA, which entails a maximum punishment of up to 14 years, as the prosecution could not prove it.
“No document was passed over by her to her handlers. To my mind, e-mail is not helpful to the prosecution to establish a case against the accused attracting 14 years of imprisonment,” the court said in its 40-page order.
The court observed it was necessary to prove that any information shared by the accused with Pakistan had actually caused any prejudice to the safety and interest of the nation.
It convicted Gupta of offences under Section 3(1)(c) and section 5 (wrongful communication of information) of OSA, read with 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. The offences carry a maximum sentence of three years in prison.
The court will hear arguments on the quantum of sentence on Saturday.
Gupta was arrested on April 22, 2010 on charges of revealing classified information to Pakistani officials Mubshar Raza Rana and Jamshed via email using her phone. In the chargesheet, she was also accused of having an affair with Jamshed.
During the trial, Gupta claimed she had been falsely implicated by officials of India’s High Commission in Islamabad and the MEA, with whom she claimed to have had strained relations, in connivance with Delhi Police officials. Gupta was posted as Second Secretary, Press and Information, at the High Commission at the time.
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