[Espionage Case] Delhi High Court grants bail to Nepalese national accused of leaking sensitive info to China

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A Nepali citizen namely Sher Singh moved bail application before the high court in an espionage case. Sher Singh is accused of passing sensitive information to Chinese Intelligence Officers.

The Delhi High Court on Monday granted bail to a Nepalese national arrested in an espionage case for allegedly leaking sensitive information to Chinese intelligence officers.

Justice Vikas Mahajan opined that no useful purpose would be served in keeping petitioner Sher Singh, who was "neither named in the FIR" nor any "confidential document" was recovered from him, behind bars after the completion of the investigation, and granted him bail subject to certain conditions.

The court also said that the allegations and defence will be tested during the trial, and at the present stage, it had to be noted the other co-accused, who are the "main accused", had been released on default bail, while the petitioner had remained in custody since September 19, 2020.

“The investigation is complete and no further recovery has to be made from the petitioner. It is also not the case of the prosecution that the petitioner is a habitual offender or he is involved in any other case”, the single-judge bench said.

The Delhi Police registered the present FIR in 2020 for the alleged commission of offences under the Official Secrets Act and arrested Delhi-based freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma on September 14, 2020.

The prosecution’s case was that according to inputs received from an Indian intelligence agency, Sharma was receiving funds from his handler through hawala channels and the Western Union Money Transfer platform for conveying sensitive information, having a bearing on National Security and foreign relations, through electronic means. Subsequently, the petitioner was also arrested on September 19, 2020, as it was apprehended that he was also a part of the conspiracy.

During the investigation, it was revealed that two individuals namely Ms. Zhang Lixia @ Usha and Mr. Jhang Cheng @ Suraj, who are Chinese nationals, were running a company namely MZ Mall Private Ltd. which was a conduit that offered monetary gains to the co-accused (Rajeev Sharma) through various means including cash in exchange of sensitive information pertaining to the security and integrity of the country.

Opposing the bail plea, the Delhi Police submitted that the offences committed by the petitioner affect the sovereignty and integrity of the nation and further submits that the petitioner is a citizen of Nepal and is thus at flight risk and may skip bail. It was also submitted that the petitioner may influence witnesses and tamper with evidence and thus should not be enlarged on bail.

Conclusively, the court ordered, “In view of the above, No useful purpose would be served in keeping the petitioner behind bars. Accordingly, the petitioner is admitted to bail on his furnishing a Personal Bond in the sum of Rs. 10,000/- with one surety of like amount, subject to the satisfaction of the learned Trial Court/CMM/Duty Magistrate”.

Case Title: Sher Singh @ Raj Bohara Vs. State (NCT of Delhi)