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NewsClick rejects allegations in Delhi Police FIR, claims attempt to muzzle 'free and independent' press

NewsClick issued a statement claiming that it did not receive any funds from China and never sought to "encourage violence, secession or any illegal act in any manner". This comes after Delhi Police arrested the portal's founder Prabir Purkayastha under the anti-terror law UAPA earlier this week.

Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 New Delhi Published on: October 07, 2023 13:57 IST
NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha
Image Source : FACEBOOK NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha

The NewsClick, which is under the Delhi Police scanner for allegedly receiving funds from China, has outrightly rejected the allegations as untenable and bogus claiming that the action initiated by the authorities are “a blatant attempt to muzzle the free and independent press in India”.

The Delhi Police has alleged in its FIR filed under anti-terror law UAPA against NewsClick that a large sum of funds were received from China to disrupt India’s sovereignty and cause disaffection against the country as part of a "larger criminal conspiracy”.

Delhi Police claimed that Neville Roy Singham, an active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China, infused foreign fund into the company. The police gave a copy of the FIR to the portal on Friday (October 6).

The portal issued a statement on X, formerly Twitter, on Friday night and claimed, “The Newsclick has not received any funding or instructions from China or Chinese entities. Further, Newsclick has never committed or sought to encourage violence, secession or any illegal act in any manner whatsoever. A perusal of Newsclick's coverage, which is freely available online, should be sufficient to indicate the veracity of Newsclick’s claims”.

'Faith in judicial system'

The statement said that NewsClick has faith in the judicial system of India and expressed its confidence regarding its stand being vindicated.

On October 2, the Delhi Police arrested NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and its HR head Amit Chakravarty following raids at around 88 locations related to the premises of portal and people connection to it.

"The allegations in the FIR, apart from being ex facie untenable and bogus, have been made time and again, in investigations by three government agencies – the Enforcement Directorate, the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police, and the income tax department," it said.

The portal claimed that none of the investigations led to chargesheets over the last three years.

It said that Purkayastha was granted interim protection in these investigations and the latest FIR was registered only to circumvent this and carry out "illegal arrests" under the UAPA.

"We immediately moved the High Court of Delhi seeking quashing of the FIR as well as release of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty from their illegal police custody," it said.

The Delhi Police had registered an FIR under section sections 13, 16,17, 18 and 22C of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and 153A, and 120B of the IPC.

(With PTI inputs)

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