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NewsClick case: Days after Delhi Police raids, CBI conducts searches at premises of media firm office

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 -- PADS -- to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Edited By: Raju Kumar @rajudelhi123 New Delhi Published on: October 11, 2023 12:02 IST
CBI initiated probe into illegal funding case
Image Source : REPRESENTATIONAL PIC CBI initiated probe into illegal funding case

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Wednesday carried out searches at the premises of NewsClick for the violation of the alleged Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The Central probe agency registered a case against the online media company, said the official. According to the probe agency, NewsClick received foreign funds in violations of FCRA.

FCRA violations case

A CBI team searched the residence and office of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha. Purkayastha was recently arrested by the Delhi Police in a case under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act. 

It was alleged by the police that the company fraudulently received funds from an active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China, Neville Roy Singham. However, the allegations have been denied by the company.

Purkayastha, Chakravarty in 10-day judicial custody

A Delhi court on Tuesday sent to 10-day judicial custody Purkayastha and NewsClilck human resources (HR) department head Amit Chakravarty, arrested in a case lodged under anti-terror law UAPA.

The judge noted the submissions of the counsel for both the accused persons, according to which they had challenged the duo's arrest, and the first remand order passed by the court before the Delhi High Court.

 
"They have also moved a petition for quashing of FIR, though there is no stay by the Delhi High Court against the proceedings in the present case," she said.
 
The court said the application for the duo's judicial custody included various grounds, such as the investigation being at a crucial state, to conduct a proper investigation as the case is regarding a "larger and deep-rooted conspiracy", and to prevent the duo from committing any further offence.
 
"It is further submitted that at this stage, more investigation is needed to be conducted, questioning of several persons linked with the case is still pending, the reply of notices sent to various financial institutions is awaited and analysis of the huge volume of digital data, documents and other evidence seized during investigation needs to be completed," the court said noting the application.

In the case regarding the previous investigation by the ED, the Delhi High Court had in June 2021 granted protection to Purkayastha and also directed the agency to not take any coercive action against him, the court said noting his submissions.

It noted that the advocate had argued that the Special Cell had registered a new FIR to "circumvent this protection" and that no criminal act had been done by Purkayastha.

The court said Chakravarty's counsel had submitted that his client's name was mentioned at only two places in the FIR and there was no specific allegation against him.

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