Delhi Court Issues Notice to Local Police in NewsClick Founder’s UAPA Arrest Case

NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha Remanded to 7-Day Police Custody. Image/NewsClick.in
NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha Remanded to 7-Day Police Custody. Image/NewsClick.in
NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha Remanded to 7-Day Police Custody. Image/NewsClick.in
NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha Remanded to 7-Day Police Custody. Image/NewsClick.in

Delhi Court Issues Notice to Local Police in NewsClick Founder’s UAPA Arrest Case

Delhi Court Issues Notice to Local Police in NewsClick Founder’s UAPA Arrest Case

Delhi Court Issues Notice to Local Police in NewsClick Founder’s UAPA Arrest Case

A city court in Delhi has taken a significant step by issuing a notice to the local police department in response to a plea from Prabir Purkayastha, the founder of NewsClick, and Amit Chakravarty, the company’s HR head. Both individuals were arrested under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), India’s primary anti-terrorism law, on allegations of receiving funding for pro-China propaganda.

Case Details and Court Action

The court has directed the police to file their response within the next day and has agreed to provide a copy of the remand application to the counsel representing the accused. This development allows the lawyers for Purkayastha and Chakravarty to meet with their clients for one hour each day during their remand period, a period of seven days.

During the investigation, the police carried out searches at more than 30 locations, questioned multiple journalists, and eventually arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty. The NewsClick office in Delhi was sealed, and 46 individuals were interrogated as ‘suspects.’ Digital devices and documents were also seized for further examination. Subsequently, those questioned were permitted to leave.

Allegations and Police Statement

The arrests and investigations stemmed from allegations that NewsClick had received funds for promoting pro-China propaganda. The media outlet had been under investigation over allegations of receiving funds from China. Authorities launched a case against NewsClick and its journalists in mid-August, shortly after a New York Times report suggested that the website had received funding from an American millionaire, alleged to have financed the spread of Chinese propaganda.

Delhi Police issued a statement outlining their actions during the investigation, confirming the arrests of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty. The statement also mentioned the questioning of 37 male suspects at various locations, the interrogation of nine female suspects at their respective residences, and the seizure or collection of digital devices and documents for examination.

Reactions to the Arrests

NewsClick has been a prominent independent digital news media outlet in India, known for its critical stance towards the Indian government. The arrests of its founder and HR head, along with the intense scrutiny of its operations, have generated widespread outrage among supporters of free and independent media. Aakar Patel, the chair of the board at Amnesty International India, expressed concern, stating that “Journalism is not a crime. The NewsClick raids and the arrest of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty are the latest attempts by the Indian government to decimate independent and critical media.”

Many share Patel’s concerns, viewing these actions as an attempt to suppress critical voices within the media. The utilization of the UAPA, a law typically reserved for addressing serious threats to national security, has been interpreted by some as an intimidation tactic aimed at stifling independent journalism.

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