NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday said it has attached a Delhi-based journalist’s residential property worth Rs 48.21 lakh in connection with a money laundering probe linked to the alleged leakage and supply of sensitive information to Chinese intelligence officers.
A provisional order has been issued under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach the property of freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma in the national capital’s Pitampura area, the ED said in a statement.
Sharma, who was arrested by the agency in July last year, was granted bail in the case by the Delhi High Court last week.
The agency said its probe found that “Sharma had supplied confidential and sensitive information to Chinese intelligence officers, in exchange for remuneration thereby compromising the security and national interests of the country”.
“Such remuneration to Rajeev Sharma was being provided by a Mahipalpur based shell company that was run by Chinese nationals like Zhang Cheng alias Suraj, Zhang Lixia alias Usha and Qing Shi along with a Nepali national Sher Singh alias Raj Bohara.
“This Chinese company was acting as a conduit for the Chinese intelligence agencies to provide remuneration for persons like Rajeev Sharma,” the ED said in the statement.
The remuneration, it claimed, was being paid in cash through carriers as well as through cash deposits.
“Sharma also received money using the bank account of his friend in order to conceal his involvement in criminal activities.
In addition to obtaining remunerations in cash, he also received remuneration in kind in the form of various paid foreign trips which were arranged by the Chinese intelligence agents,” the ED alleged.
The agency’s case is based on a Delhi Police FIR filed under the Official Secrets Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Sharma in 2020.
The journalist was arrested by the special cell of the Delhi Police on September 14, 2020 and charged with passing on information about the Indian Army’s deployment and the country’s border strategy to Chinese intelligence officers.
The ED had also filed a chargesheet in this case last year.