News Brief

Illegal Chinese Funding Case: Supreme Court Allows Releasing NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha On Technical Grounds

Nishtha Anushree

May 15, 2024, 12:19 PM | Updated 12:19 PM IST

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha.
NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha.

The Supreme Court released NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha considering his arrest invalid based on a technicality that the Delhi Police did not give him grounds of arrest before the remand.

The Wednesday (15 May) order allowed him to be released if he furnishes of bonds to the trial court’s satisfaction. He was arrested in October last year over allegations of receiving illegal Chinese funding.

The police charge sheet accuses Purkayastha of funding Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists, inciting violence in Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and Chand Bagh and using reporters to distribute money during the 2020 farmers’ protest.

The charge sheet was taken into cognizance by a Delhi court on 29 April and has been listed for arguments on 31 May as NewsClick has contested allegations calling it "bogus, absurd, and concocted".

Purkayastha was arrested along with Amit Chakravarty, the Human Resources Department head at NewsClick, and both were sent to judicial custody in November.

In January, a Delhi court granted permission to Chakravarty to become an approver in the case filed against NewsClick under the anti-terror law  Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).

Chakravarty asserted that he possesses "material information" related to the case, which he is willing to disclose to the Delhi Police. This could potentially pose difficulties for Purkayastha.

In accordance with the FIR, a substantial amount of funds allegedly came from China to the news portal with the intent to "disrupt the sovereignty of India" and foster disaffection against the country.

The FIR also accused Purkayastha of conspiring with a group, the People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS), to undermine the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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