India arrests local journalist for allegedly spying for China

New Delhi: 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.

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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.

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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”.

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The Chinese foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside regular business hours.

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Reuters could not immediately reach any of the three individuals, who are under arrest, or their lawyers.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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The police said Sharma was tasked with providing information on India-China boundary issues and other matters in recent years.

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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.

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India has in recent months banned several Chinese apps and made it tougher for Chinese companies to make investments.

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