Wednesday, April 17, 2024

NewsClick case: Delhi Court extends judicial custody of founder Prabir Purkayastha, HR head Amit Chakraborty

A Delhi court today extended the judicial custody of NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and HR department head Amit Chakraborty in a case filed under anti-terror law UAPA. The case has been lodged over allegations that the news portal received money to spread pro-China propaganda. 

Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur extended their judicial custody till February 17, 2024. While Prabir Purkayastha is an accused in the case, former co-accused Chakraborty recently turned approver in the matter.

Amit Chakraborty in his application seeking pardon in the matter claimed that he was in possession of material information about the case which he was willing to disclose to the Delhi Police.  

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has postponed the hearing of NewsClick plea challenging the income tax assessment order of November 3, 2023 and February 20, 2023 by a week. The news portal had approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court dismissed its plea, noting that NewsClick has a lot to answer when it comes to its financial dealings. 

On October 3, 2023, the Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty. As per the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal came from China in an attempt to disrupt the sovereignty of India and cause disaffection against the country. It further alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group named People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Following, raids were conducted at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on the suspects named in the FIR and those that surfaced in the analysis of data. During the raids, around 300 electronic gadgets were also seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were examined. Furthermore, 46 individuals, including nine female journalists, were also questioned by the Special Cell.


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