An Indian journalist named Rakesh Sharma has been held for smuggling countrymen in Australia during the Commonwealth Games. He will be held in custody for six weeks after the court adjourned his case on Friday. According to Indian media, Sharma is employed with a newspaper in Chandigarh. He is charged with smuggling of people along with falsifying their documents to show that they too were working in the media. He used fake media credentials for eight people, all of them who were taken into immigration detention.
Sharma was remanded in custody at the Brisbane Magistrates Court and it will resume his case on June 22. The Australian Border Force (ABF) had alleged that the accreditation of all the nine men including Sharma's was not genuine. According to an ABF statement, he was charged with offences under the Migration Act 1958, including people smuggling. Sharma allegedly facilitated the travel of a “fake media contingent” to attend the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which took place from April 4-15.
On questioning these people, the ABF officers found the fraudulent media credentials. Sharma was arrested immediately and even appeared in Brisbane court. The maximum penalty for such an offence is 20 years of jail term. Sharma had facilitated group travel of people in ages between 19 and 37, to come to Australia under the pretext of covering the games. He also filled a form which he knew was a false one to enable these people to get visas for their stay in the country.