INDIA: A Jaipur-based journalist and an ex-Indian Navy Commander were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on charges of providing sensitive and confidential information about defence projects to foreign intelligence agencies on Wednesday.
The accused were arrested under Section 03 of the Official Secrets Act 1923 and Section 120 B of the Indian Penal Code 1960 as per the First Information Report (FIR) (RC 32(S) 2022/CBISC.III 3 ND) registered by the CBI on December 9, 2012. The initial FIR (293/2022), dated September 20, 2022, was registered by the special cell of the Delhi Police.
Vivek Raghuvanshi, a journalist based in Jaipur (Rajasthan), and former Indian Navy Commander Ashish Pathak are accused of illegally collecting information about the projects of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the future procurement of the Indian Armed Forces that revealed the strategic preparedness of the country and passing it on to the intelligence agencies of foreign countries.
Raghuvanshi, India Bureau Chief, Defence News, was stated to be part of an international network in which some of the Indian journalists are supplying information to the intelligence agencies of foreign countries, the CBI FIR stated.
On Tuesday, the searches were conducted at around 15 locations in the National Capital Region and Jaipur, and 48 electronic devices, including laptops, tablets, mobile phones, hard discs, pen drives, etc., were seized, a CBI statement read.
Besides, a number of incriminating documents relating to Indian defence establishments were seized. The data stored in cloud-based accounts, emails, and social media accounts belonging to the accused were also recovered by digital forensic experts at the CBI.
It was also alleged that Raghuvanshi and Pathak were in possession of classified secret documents related to Indian defence establishments.
The scrutiny of devices recovered so far from the possession of the accused revealed that Raghuvanshi was allegedly collecting confidential information related to India’s defence procurement from different sources and was in contact with several foreign entities or agents, and he had entered into contracts or agreements with several foreign entities for sharing confidential information. It was also alleged that Raghuvanshi and his family members had received substantial amounts from foreign sources.