Will not be intimidated; will persevere: Statements issued by news portals following IT Dept ‘surveys’

"These investigations by various agencies are attempts to stifle the independent journalism of media organisations – including Newsclick," Prabir Purkayastha, Editor-in-chief, Newsclick said

Will not be intimidated; will persevere: Statements issued by news portals following IT Dept ‘surveys’
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NH Web Desk

In a statement released on Saturday, Prabir Purkayastha, Editor-in-chief, Newsclick said that the IT Dept “raid” carried out at the news portal’s office on Friday “appears to relate to the same false and unfounded allegations being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police”.

“This is not the first time Newsclick has been targeted by government agencies. The offices of Newsclick, as well as the residences of Prabir Purkayastha and other persons associated with us, were also raided earlier this year by the Enforcement Directorate. Newsclick has cooperated with the investigations by the Enforcement Directorate and Economic Offences Wing, and handed over all the documents they have asked for from time to time,” he said.

“These investigations by various agencies, and these selective allegations, are attempts to stifle the independent journalism of media organisations – including Newsclick. The Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(a) guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression, a right central to our work,” he added.

Newslaundry co-founder Abhinandan Sekhri said, “This is the second visit by an IT team to my office, the first being in June. We had cooperated with them then too. We have nothing to hide and have done everything by the book and are not in any breach or violation of any law. We conduct our business honestly and with integrity. We have in the past given the IT authorities all documents related to our funding and accounts. We will cooperate in whatever way we are required to by law.”

“We will also continue to practice public interest journalism which is why we exist. Our support comes from people who value public interest news and choose to subscribe to Newslaundry, not through government or corporate advertisements or PR exercises. We are proud of the model we chose and championed,” he said.

“I am proud of my team and forever grateful to have such an amazing set of colleagues, some so young, who choose to do what they do in spite of the odds stacked against them – thank you all. We will persevere,”

Full text of statement issued by Prabir Purkayastha, Editor-in-chief, Newsclick:

On September 10, officers from the Income Tax Department conducted a “survey” operation at the Newsclick office from 12 noon to midnight. The operation was conducted under Section 133A of the Income Tax Act.

The IT team recorded the statement of Newsclick’s Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha; impounded his phone; and took away documents – what they called “loose papers” from the premises. They also took email dumps of Prabir, editor Pranjal, and various administrative and financial accounts related to Newsclick.


Around 30 employees and support staff of Newsclick were in the office throughout the “survey”. Their phones were temporarily seized, and they were not allowed to use their computers and work.

This is not the first time Newsclick has been targeted by government agencies. The offices of Newsclick, as well as the residences of Prabir Purkayastha and other persons associated with us, were also raided earlier this year by the Enforcement Directorate. Newsclick has cooperated with the investigations by the Enforcement Directorate and Economic Offences Wing, and handed over all the documents they have asked for from time to time.

Income Tax officials interrogated Prabir and Pranjal in June, and again, Newsclick provided the necessary documents.

The raid yesterday appears to relate to the same false and unfounded allegations being investigated by the Enforcement Directorate and the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police. We have these allegations challenged in the Courts.

These investigations by various agencies, and these selective allegations, are attempts to stifle the independent journalism of media organisations – including Newsclick. The Constitution of India under Article 19(1)(a) guarantees the right to freedom of speech and expression, a right central to our work.

Newsclick would like to thank everyone who has expressed solidarity with us. We will not be intimidated. We will continue to do our work, and speak truth to power.

Full text of statement issued by Newslaundry co-founder Abhinandan Sekhri:

A team from the Income Tax department came to the registered office of Newslaundry at approximately 12:15 in the afternoon on the 10th of September and conducted a "survey" under section 133 A as per the document shown to me. They left the premises at around 12:40 am on the 11th of September.

I was told I cannot speak to my lawyer and have to hand over my phone. The team consisting of six or seven people was courteous and professional. I was told the law requires me to comply without seeking legal advice. They searched and looked through all computer devices at the premises. My personal mobile phone, laptop and a couple of office machines were taken control of and all the data on them downloaded by the IT team.

In my understanding, this (taking all data from my personal laptop and mobile phone) violates my fundamental right to privacy. No signed hash value of the data copied was provided to me. Even so, we will deal with that later.

This is the second visit by an IT team to my office, the first being in June. We had cooperated with them then too. We have nothing to hide and have done everything by the book and are not in any breach or violation of any law. We conduct our business honestly and with integrity. We have in the past given the IT authorities all documents related to our funding and accounts. We will cooperate in whatever way we are required to by law.


We will also continue to practice public interest journalism which is why we exist. Our support comes from people who value public interest news and choose to subscribe to Newslaundry, not through government or corporate advertisements or PR exercises. We are proud of the model we chose and championed.

I am proud of my team and forever grateful to have such an amazing set of colleagues, some so young, who choose to do what they do in spite of the odds stacked against them – thank you all. We will persevere.

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