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Delhi Court orders FIR copy be provided to journalist arrested under Official Secrets Act

News Agencies | Updated on: 25 September 2020, 12:50 IST

A Delhi Court on Thursday ordered the Delhi Police to provide a copy of the FIR to the advocates of freelance Journalist Rajeev Sharma, who was arrested recently under the Official Secrets Act.

The Court also ordered to provide a copy of the FIR to co-accused Chinese Qing Shi in the same case.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Pawan Singh Rajawat while ordering the FIR copy to be supplied to the counsels said: "I am satisfied that the accused are entitled to be supplied with copy of FIR for defending themselves by taking recourse to the provisions of law".

The CMM, however, directed the advocates representing the accused persons not to disclose the contents of the FIR in the public domain and to use it for availing legal remedies only.

The Court on Thursday also allowed the counsels of accused to meet the accused for 30 minutes during their custody period.

Advocate Adish Aggarwala representing Rajeev Sharma and Advocate Ravish Singh representing Qing Shi argued that no FIR had been uploaded online and despite a request to the police, they have not furnished the copy of FIR to the accused.

They also argued that police had not supplied the copy of the FIR whereas they issued press releases providing in vivid detail the alleged material against the accused persons stated to be unearthed during the investigation and therefore, the said objections are misplaced.

The Court, while passing the order also went through the contents of the FIR which was produced before the court in a sealed cover.

"Even though the nature of allegations against the accused persons pertains to offences U/s 3/4/5 of officials Secrets Act as well as offence U/s 120-B IPC wherein the accused alleged to have been supplying strategic/sensitive information to their handlers in China and therefore, same is of sensitive in nature. However, after going through the press release which mentions in detail the background of the case as well as the outcome of the interrogation of the accused persons. If press release is compared with the contents of the FIR, the contents of the FIR are very sketchy as it does not give in detail the nature of the investigation being done by police," the court stated.

The wife of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma has written a letter to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police, claiming that the interrogation of her husband is illegal and that police had destroyed some material evidence and fabricated others.

Delhi Police on September 14 had arrested Rajeev Sharma on the allegations that he was passing sensitive information about India's border strategy, Army's deployment and procurement, and foreign policy to Chinese intelligence agencies.

According to the police, a Chinese woman and her Nepalese associate were also arrested for paying him large amounts of money routed through shell companies. Sharma with others accused are currently in police custody till September 28. Delhi Police Special Cell said Sharma, a resident of Pitampura in New Delhi, was "found to be in possession of some defence-related classified documents".


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First published: 25 September 2020, 12:50 IST