ED raids on premises associated with NewsClick conclude after continuing for 114 hours
NewsClick has said the raids are an attempt to browbeat “an independent and progressive voice through a vindictive course of action”
Searches by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) at premises associated with online news portal NewsClick, which continued for five days, finally concluded at 1.30 AM on Sunday morning, as per a tweet posted by the media outlet’s handle.
The ED officials camped at the residence of the portal’s editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and author Githa Haraharan, who is a shareholder of the company that runs the portal.
They claimed that ED searches usually get over within a couple of days, but the prolonged raid was necessitated by “technical issues” related to “procuring a data dump” of electronic devices owned by Purkayastha and Hariharan, as per a report carried by The Indian Express.
“They did not want us to take their electronic devices. So we have no choice but to work on the devices at their residence and in their presence. The backup of their emails is taking a long time. Apart from that, the searches are practically over,” a senior official was quoted as saying.
The newspaper quoted sources as saying that different teams of ED searched 10 premises across Delhi and Ghaziabad in UP. While searches were conducted at the Newsclick office at South Delhi’s Saidulajab, teams raided premises of associated companies and shareholders of Newsclick’s parent company PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd. Searches were also conducted at premises associated with PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd, PP Conectmedia, PPK Newsctick Studio LLP and J Enterprises among four entities.
NewsClick has said the raids are an attempt to browbeat “an independent and progressive voice through a vindictive course of action”.
ED sources have claimed they were probing the news portal in connection with investments of Rs 30 crore from three US companies.
On Friday, NewsClick issued a statement saying the team is cooperating with the Enforcement Directorate. It said “as of Friday afternoon, ED raids have been going on at the house of” Purkayastha, “for close to 80 hours”. Purkayastha and author Githa Hariharan have been “detained in their house since the beginning of the raid”, it said.
Newslick’s office “was raided for over 36 hours and some equipment vital to our functioning as a news organisation was seized” and “communication devices of directors and senior management have also been seized, which has, therefore, limited their ability to return to work or indeed, respond to queries of the media”, the statement said.
Despite this, the statement said, NewsClick “has cooperated fully with the authorities, and will continue to do so…We have nothing to hide, as we have operated completely in accordance with the law.”