NewsClick: Delhi court sends Purkayastha, Chakravarty to police custody until Nov 2
Purkayastha and Chakraborty have been in judicial custody since 10 October. Before that, they were in police custody from 3 October
A Delhi court on Wednesday, 25 November, has sent NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakravarty to Delhi Police custody for nine days until 2 November in the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case against them.
Additional sessions jJudge Hardeep Kaur of the Patiala House Courts allowed the application submitted by the Delhi Police and stated that the duo will be produced in court on 2 November.
Purkayastha and Chakraborty have been in judicial custody since 10 October. Before that, they were in police custody from 3 October.
As the period of judicial custody granted ended on 25 October, the Delhi Police said they wanted them in police custody to question them again.
Additional public prosecutor Atul Srivastava, who appeared for the police, told the court that the police have the right to seek custody to question the duo again, and therefore wanted them in police custody.
The current case purportedly has its roots in an August report by the New York Times, which claimed that the web portal was funded by a network linked to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda.
On 5 October, a Delhi court allowed Purkayastha and Chakravarty's applications seeking a copy of the FIR against them. The Delhi Police had opposed the plea, stating that because of the ‘sensitive nature’ of the case, they were entitled to withhold the FIR. However, additional sessions judge Hardeep Kaur ordered the police to provide a copy of the FIR to the plaintiffs.
They were then produced in court on 10 October and then sent to judicial custody for 10 days until 20 October. Justice Tushar Rao Gadela of the Delhi High Court rejected their plea on that day, saying there was no merit in the petitions challenging the trial court's order that remanded them into a week's police custody.
During the hearing, senior advocate and Rajya Sabha MP Kapil Sibal, appearing for Purkayastha, said both the arrest and the remand were illegal because the two men had not been informed of the grounds for their arrest.
On 13 October, the Delhi High Court had refused to interfere with the arrest and subsequent police remand of Purkayastha and Chakravarty under the controversial UAPA.
On 19 October, the Supreme Court issued a notice seeking a response from the Delhi Police on petitions filed by Purkayastha and Chakravarty challenging their arrests under the UAPA.
A bench of justices BR Gavai and Prashant Kumar Mishra subsequently issued a notice to the Delhi Police and sought a response by 30 October after senior advocates Kapil Sibal and Devadatt Kamat, appearing for Purkayastha and Chakravarty respectively, requested that their pleas be heard soon as they continue to be in prison.