NewsClick: Delhi court extends judicial custody of editor, HR head again

On 2 November, the court had sent the duo to judicial custody until 1 December after the Delhi Police had requested 30-day custody of both

Raids on NewsClick and the arrest of founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha, shown here amidst a crush of reporters (photo: DW)
Raids on NewsClick and the arrest of founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha, shown here amidst a crush of reporters (photo: DW)
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NH Digital

A Delhi court on Friday extended the judicial custody of NewsClick portal founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and its human resources department head Amit Chakravarty by 21 days to 22 December in the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case over alleged Chinese funding for the portal to promote anti-national sentiments and news.

On 2 November, the court had sent the duo to judicial custody until 1 December after the Delhi Police had requested 30-day custody of both. The two were arrested by a Delhi Police special cell on 3 October for allegedly receiving illegal funding from China, routed through the United States.

Both Purkayastha and Chakravarty were produced in Delhi's Patiala House Court on Friday at the end of their judicial custody period. The special cell had registered an FIR in August under sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC). In November, the two were sent to a month’s judicial custody.

Among allegations detailed by the special cell in its FIR against Purkayastha were attempts to show Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as "not parts of India", discrediting the Indian government’s fight against Covid, funding the farmers’ agitation, and "putting up a spirited defence of legal cases" against Chinese telecom companies such as Xiaomi and Vivo.

Earlier, Delhi Police, while taking remand of the two men, said their custodial interrogation was required to confront them with some protected witnesses and also some devices were examined and the data extracted.

Purkayastha's lawyer Arshdeep Singh Khurana had opposed the Delhi Police plea for custodial remand and stated that they had to show what they had unearthed and found. They should at least tell the court, he said.

In August, a New York Times investigation had indicated that NewsClick was funded by a network linked to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham, to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda.


In August, a New York Times investigation had indicated that NewsClick was funded by a network linked to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham, to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda.

On 3 October, in a statement regarding the search, seizure and detentions carried out in connection with the UAPA case registered by the special cell, Delhi Police had said a total of 37 male suspects were questioned at the office premises, while nine female suspects were questioned at their residences. The police said digital devices, documents, etc. were seized or collected for examination.

Both Purkayastha and Chakravarty had moved the court earlier seeking release of electronic devices seized by police and bail, respectively.

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