Delhi Police raids NewsClick's office, journalists, satirists over UAPA case

Police recovered the dump data of laptops and mobile phones of some journalists of NewsClick

NewsClick logo (photo : National Herald archives)
NewsClick logo (photo : National Herald archives)

NH Digital

The Delhi police is raiding at least 35 locations, including houses of seven journalists, a satirist and places associated with the news portal NewsClick under a new case allegedly registered under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). 

A fresh case numbered FIR 224/23 has been registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell against the news portal as it was under the scanner of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) amid allegations it received funds from China.

Reportedly, the ED had shared a few details with the Delhi Police, following which the Special Cell began conducting raids on the basis of the ED inputs. The current case purportedly has its roots in an August report by the New York Times.

This case was reportedly filed on 17 August 2023, and invokes several sections (13, 16, 17, 18, and 22) of the draconian UAPA, along with 153(a) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 120 (b) (party to a criminal conspiracy other than a criminal conspiracy to commit an offence) of the Indian Penal Code.

Though there has been no official statement, the ED officials reached the homes of video journalist Abhisar Sharma, senior journalist Bhasha Singh, veteran journalist Urmilesh, Newsclick editor Prabir Purkayastha and writer Githa Hariharan, Newsclick journalists Subodh Varma, Aditi Nigam and Trina Shankar.

Subodh Varma has been taken away for interrogation and the devices of Nigam and Shankar have been seized. National Herald has been able to confirm that police visited the houses of several Newsclick employees and seized their devices.

They have also raided the house of historian Sohail Hashmi, who is not related to Newsclick's journalistic operations.

Police recovered the dump data of laptops and mobile phones of some journalists of NewsClick. The Special Cell has registered a new case and started investigation, officials said.

The Delhi Police has confiscated the laptop and mobile phone belonging to Subodh Varma.

Abhisar Sharma, a senior journalist, wrote on X, "Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and phone." 

Homes of activist Teesta Setalvad and veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta were also raided. Setalvad, who lives in Mumbai, is being questioned by Delhi police officers, it has been learnt.

National Herald has learnt that stand-up comic Sanjay Rajaura Rajaura has also been taken to the Special Cell, Lodhi Road, by the police. The officials said they were taking him in for questioning, but not arresting him.

The Enforcement Directorate had earlier in 2021 also conducted raids at the firm's premises, probing its sources of funding. Then the case was of "criminal conspiracy to bring in unaccounted money from abroad”.

With PTI inputs

This is a developing story and it will be updated as more details become available.

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Published: 03 Oct 2023, 9:09 AM
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