NEW DELHI: 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 said no useful purpose would be served in keeping petitioner Sher Singh, who was neither named in the FIR nor was any confidential document recovered from him, behind bars after the completion of an investigation, and granted him bail subject to conditions.
The judge said the allegations and defence will be tested during the trial, and at this stage, it has to be noted the other co-accused, who are the "main accused", have been released on default bail, while the petitioner has 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," said the court.
"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," the court ordered.
Delhi Police had registered the present FIR in 2020 for alleged commission of offences under the Official Secrets Act and arrested Delhi-based freelance journalist Rajeev Sharma on September 14, 2020.
The prosecution claimed according to inputs received from an Indian intelligence agency, Sharma was receiving funds from his handler through hawala channels and 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 apprehended for being part of the conspiracy.
Police opposed the bail plea of the petitioner contending that the offences affect the sovereignty and integrity of the nation, and being a citizen of Nepal, he is a flight risk.
It claimed the petitioner played an active role in the conspiracy, and was a director in the company which was acting as a conduit to deliver cash to Rajeev Sharma.
The accused claimed he was not educated, and taking advantage of this fact, the co-accused had made him the director having only about 0.01 per cent shareholding in the company.
He claimed he was falsely implicated in the case.
While granting him bail, the court directed Singh to surrender his passport and not leave the city without its prior permission.
Sharma was granted default bail by the high court in December 2020.
Under Indian laws, an accused is entitled to default bail if an investigation in a criminal case is not completed within the stipulated time.