ED arrests Indian journalist on China payroll for money laundering
DHARAMSALA, 5 July: Freelance journalist Rajiv Sharma has been arrested again by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for money laundering on Thursday.
Sharma who was previously arrested by the Delhi police in September 2019 allegedly for spying for was charged under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and produced before a Delhi court from where the ED secured his seven-day custody on Friday.
“Rajeev Sharma had supplied confidential and sensitive information to Chinese intelligence officers in exchange for remuneration thereby compromising the security and national interests of India,” ED has said in its statement.
The ED has further stated that the journalist allegedly received cash through hawala by Mahipalpur-based shell companies run by Chinese nationals Zhang Cheng alias Suraj, Zhang Lixia alias Usha and Quing Shi along with a Nepalese national Sher Singh alias Raj Bohara.
“Apart from cash, huge transactions were made with various Chinese companies and some other trading companies in India which are being examined. These Chinese companies were acting as a conduit for the Chinese Intelligence agencies to provide remuneration for persons like Rajeev Sharm indulged in criminal activities. Rajeev Sharma also received money through benami bank accounts in order to conceal his involvement in criminal activities,” the statement added.
According to a report on The Indian Express, Sharma was allegedly contacted by Chinese Intelligence agents in 2016, and that he was also allegedly in contact with some Chinese intelligence officers.
Special Cell DCP Sanjeev Kumar Yadav was quoted as s the report that “Sharma was writing on defense-related issues for some Indian media organizations, as well as China’s Global Times,” and that “the freelance journalist got Rs 40 lakh in one-and-a-half years and he was getting USD 1,000 for each information.”
The 62-year-old Sharma was arrested by the Delhi police special cell on 14, September 2020 for passing on information about the Indian Army’s deployment and the country’s border strategy to Chinese intelligence.
He was given bail by the Delhi High Court in December 2020 after he sought statutory bail on the grounds that the charge sheet was not filed within 60 days of his arrest.
The freelance journalist has written reports that are fake and filled with misinformation on Tibet concerning the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration on the South Asian Monitor and The Quint in 2018.