NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Police in India’s capital city on Saturday said they had arrested a local freelance journalist on allegations he was passing “sensitive information” to Chinese intelligence officers.
In a statement, the Delhi Police said 61-year-old Rajeev Sharma was arrested earlier this week and officers had seized some confidential documents related to the Indian defence department from the journalist’s residence.
One Chinese woman and her Nepalese partner were also arrested for allegedly supplying Sharma with “huge amounts of money” for “conveying information to Chinese intelligence”.
The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.
Reuters could not immediately reach any of the three individuals, who are under arrest, or their lawyers.
“On interrogation, Rajeev Sharma has disclosed his involvement in procurement of secret/sensitive information and further conveying the same to his Chinese handlers,” Delhi’s Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Kumar Yadav said in the statement.
The arrest comes amid heightened tensions between India and China at their border in the Himalayan region. The relationship between the neighbours has worsened since a clash in June that India says of 20 of its troops were killed.
China suffered “far fewer” than the 20 deaths incurred by India’s military in the clash, according to a tweet this week by the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, which is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.
The police said Sharma was tasked with providing information on India-China boundary issues and other matters in recent years.
It added that between January 2019 and September 2020, Sharma received more than 3 million Indian rupees ($40,799.67) from one of his handlers.
India has in recent months banned several Chinese apps and made it tougher for Chinese companies to make investments.
Reporting by Aftab Ahmed and Devjyot Ghoshal; Additional reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing; Editing by Aditya Kalra and Alex Richardson
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