A Delhi court Monday sent 61-year-old journalist Rajeev Sharma, a Chinese woman and a Nepalese man, all arrested on charges of spying last week, to seven more days of custodial interrogation by the Delhi Police’s special cell.
Police have also written to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking its help in exploring how Sharma was allegedly paid through shell companies operated by a couple in China.
Chief metropolitan magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat extended the custody of Sharma, Chinese woman Qing Shi, and Nepalese man Sher Singh after they were produced before the court at the end of their police remand.
Sharma was arrested under the Official Secrets Act on September 14. The other two were booked under the same Act on September 19 for allegedly helping Sharma receive money from Chinese intelligence agents in lieu of information he allegedly provided them.
On Monday, police sought eight days’ remand of Sharma while stating that they have written to the defence ministry about the “incriminating documents recovered from Sharma”. They said Sharma has to be “confronted with huge and voluminous data”. The police also said a lot of data was recovered from the cellphone and laptop of the three arrested persons.
Appearing for Sharma, senior advocate Adish C Aggarwala, opposed the remand plea and said the investigation was not being conducted in the correct manner.
He said all charges against his client were baseless and there was no evidence against Sharma with the police. Aggarwala had earlier told HT that police did not recover any classified document from Sharma’s Pitampura house (when he was arrested).
“We also informed the court that the police have not provided us with a copy of the FIR. The bail application that we filed on September 17 was to be heard today ( Monday). The court directed the police to provide us with the FIR copy and reply on the bail plea by September 24,” Aggarwala said.
Following this, the court sent Sharma to seven-day police remand and posted the matter to September 28. The bail hearing will also be on September 28, the senior advocate said.
Special cell officers said Sharma was allegedly passing on “sensitive and classified information” to Chinese intelligence agencies since 2016, and was allegedly paid nearly Rs 40 lakh through various channels, including Hawala transactions and shell companies.