The Delhi High Court on Friday granted bail to independent journalist Rajeev Sharma, who is accused of spying for China.
A Single Bench of Justice Anu Malhotra granted bail to Sharma on a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh. The court said that despite more than 60 days after the accused was arrested in the case, the charge-sheet was not filed, hence the accused is entitled to default bail.
The court reserved the decision on December 1. The court asked Rajeev Sharma to provide his mobile number and address to the concerned SHO. The bench also directed Sharma to always keep his mobile location on and not to leave Delhi-NCR without the permission of the court.
During the hearing, on behalf of Rajeev Sharma, Senior Advocate Adish C Agarwal, Aditya Singh and Akshat Goyal submitted that a false case has been registered against Sharma. No offence has been found in the FIR.
The counsel said that whatever documents have been recovered from Sharma are normal documents and he has nothing to do with the Official Secrets Act.
The counsel further claimed that the 79 documents which were called secret defence documents were without the confirmation of the Ministry of Defence has been called as confidential documents. Advocate said that no ministry was named in the FIR and requested the court to look into those documents himself.
On October 21, Sharma’s bail plea was rejected by the sessions judge of the Patiala House Court in Delhi. Additional Sessions Judge Dharmendra Rani said the charges are very serious and the investigation is at a crucial juncture, so bail cannot be granted.
The trial court had said that it seems from the behavior of the family members of the accused that they are trying to influence the witnesses. Sensitive documents have been recovered from the accused, in return for which he also received money. Relations with the foreign agent are sufficient to refute the accuser’s argument that he is innocent.
Earlier, on September 29, Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat rejected the bail plea of Rajeev Sharma, saying that if the accused is released, he can influence the investigation. The Metropolitan Magistrate had said that an independent press is the fourth pillar of democracy.
A journalist is an important brick of the fourth pillar. If all the pillars of democracy work for perseverance and development, it is difficult to shake the roots of democracy, but if a journalist starts to work for shaking democracy then it is a dark day for the independent press.
The Metropolitan Magistrate had said that the accused was found to have violated Sections 3,4 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act, prima facie, after considering the confession of the accused and the evidence from him. Rajeev Sharma was arrested on September 14 from Janakpuri, Delhi.
According to the Special Cell of Delhi Police, Rajeev Sharma was arrested under the Official Secrets Act. Confidential documents related to defence were recovered from him. It was said in the petition that Rajeev Sharma has a deep connection with the society.
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Sharma’s wife is a professor at Venkateswara College. In such a situation, there is no possibility of the accused to escape. A Chinese woman and a person of Nepali origin were arrested on the trail of Sharma. Both of them are accused that they used to provide money to Rajeev Sharma through fake companies.YKH04122020CRLR3632020_124804