Delhi court grants police 60 more days to complete NewsClick probe

Court passes the order on a plea moved by Delhi cops that sought more time to complete the investigation

Prabir Purkayastha (photo: NewsClick/ Facebook)
Prabir Purkayastha (photo: NewsClick/ Facebook)
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PTI

A Delhi court on Friday (22 December) granted the city police 60 more days to complete its probe in the case it has lodged against NewsClick under anti-terror law UAPA over allegation that the news portal received money to spread pro-China propaganda in India.

Special judge Hardeep Kaur also extended the judicial custody of the news portal's founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources department head Amit Chakravarty till 20 January.

The court passed the order on a plea moved by the Delhi police that sought more time to complete the investigation.

The application sought the maximum permissible time of 180 days from the day of arrest of an accused under special laws like the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) to complete the investigation.

Without the court's permission, the probe agency would have had three months from the day of the arrest to complete the probe.

As per the law, if a probe agency fails to complete the investigation within the stipulated time, the accused in custody get a statutory right to bail.

The application said the documents and other evidence in the case were voluminous and the agency has to visit several places outside Delhi as part of the probe which was likely to take time.

The application claimed there were some more persons/potential witnesses in the case and the investigators needed judicial orders to question them.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on 3 October.

According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal came from China to "disrupt the sovereignty of India" and cause disaffection against the country.

It also alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group -- People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) -- to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Raids were conducted at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on 3 October against the suspects named in the FIR and those whose names surfaced in the analysis of data, police said.

Around 300 electronic gadgets were also seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were examined.

Following the raids, 46 individuals, including nine female journalists, were questioned by the Special Cell.

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