A senior Indian journalist imprisoned on allegedly trumped up charges by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's government was freed yesterday. A Delhi court ordered the release of Kashmiri journalist Iftikhar Geelani after the government admitted in court that it had no case against him. The New Delhi bureau chief of the Kashmir Times was imprisoned in June for having 'classified' papers about the deployment of Indian troops in Kashmir on his computer. Defence pleas that the information was downloaded from a Pakistani journal's Web site - and was freely available in libraries in New Delhi - fell on deaf ears. His arrest followed the imprisonment of his father-in-law, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a hardline Kashmiri separatist leader. Geelani was released after India's powerful Directorate of Military Operations filed an affidavit affirming the information found on the Muslim journalist's computer had 'negligible security value' and was not incriminating. Meanwhile, Kumar Badal, a senior journalist with the investigative Internet news site, Tehelka, has been granted bail by the Supreme Court in a poaching case. Badal has been in jail since July and his bail petitions were repeatedly rejected, allegedly under pressure from the Centre Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Nobel laureate Sir Vidia S. Naipaul was in court as the judges granted bail. Tehelka's editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, said Sir Vidia had wanted to express solidarity with the jailed reporter. Thanking the judges, Kumar and Mr Tejpal said that the Web site was being hounded by every government agency for exposing the arms bribery scandal in 2001. Kumar's lawyers have maintained that the charges against him are concocted but the CBI insists he was arrested under the Wildlife Protection Act after paying two poachers to kill three endangered leopards in a reserve park and capture the killing on video. In Srinagar, the release of Geelani was welcomed by local journalists, who felt it would go a long way towards establishing the credibility of the media in Kashmir. 'It is a relief that Geelani will be back once again, doing stories and facing the hazards that come with the package for the profession in Kashmir. 'I am happy that his innocence has been established,' Aijaz Hussain, a correspondent with Srinagar's Daily Excelsior newspaper, said. Geelani's arrest turned the spotlight on the perils of being a journalist in Kashmir. Gunmen killed the editor of the regional Alsafa News, Mohamed Shaban Vakil, in his office in 1991. A parcel bomb delivered to the BBC office in Srinagar in 1995 killed a cameraman, and Pradeep Bhatia, photographer for the Hindustan Times, died in a car bomb in Srinagar in August 2000.