Prabir Purkayastha, founder of digital news website NewsClick was arrested along with Amit Chakravarty, who is the HR head of the company, under anti-terror law, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, officials said on Tuesday (October 3).
Delhi Police Special Cell conducted searches at various locations in Delhi-NCR in connection with UAPA case.
According to the officials, a total of 37 male suspects have been questioned at premises while 9 female suspects have been questioned at their respective places of stay following allegations that it received money for pro-China propaganda.
“digital devices, documents etc. have been seized/collected for examination..” they said.
“The proceedings are still ongoing; so far, two accused, Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty have been arrested..” the officials added.
Further investigation into the matter is underway.
Delhi Police raids
The police action comes days after a New York Times investigation alleged that NewsClick had received funding from a newwork propagating the Chinese propaganda.
Earlier today, Delhi Police sources said the raids, which started early Tuesday morning, were based on a case registered in August under UAPA and other sections of IPC, including Section 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), 120B (criminal conspiracy).
The police recovered the dump data from the laptops and mobile phones of some journalists of NewsClick.
Earlier, the central probe agency Enforcement Directorate (ED) had also conducted raids regarding the funding of NewsClick.
In 2021, the Economic Offenses Wing of Delhi Police was the first to file a case regarding illegal funding against NewsClick. The company had allegedly received suspicious funding through Chinese companies. The ED registered a case and started an investigation into the funding case.
However, the High Court had at that time given relief to the promoters of NewsClick from arrest.
Editors Guild of India condemns raids
Various organisations, including the Editors Guild of India (EGI), condemned the Delhi Police raids on NewsClick stating that they are deeply concerned about the raids at the residences of senior journalists, dubbing them an attempt to "muzzle the media".
"We remind the government of the importance of an independent media in a functioning democracy and urge it to ensure that the fourth pillar is respected, nurtured and protected," the guild said.
"While we recognise that the law must take its course if actual offences are involved, the due process has to be followed. The investigation of specific offences must not create a general atmosphere of intimidation under the shadow of draconian laws, or impinge on the freedom of expression and the raising of dissenting and critical voices," it added.