Delhi Police file chargesheet against NewsClick in UAPA case 

Delhi Police file chargesheet against NewsClick in UAPA case 

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The Newsclick logo
| Photo Credit: P.C. Srikrishnan

The Delhi Police on March 30 filed its first chargesheet against news portal NewsClick and its founder Prabir Purkayastha, in a case lodged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, following allegations that they received funds through Chinese firms to spread pro-China propaganda.

The chargesheet running into thousands of pages was brought in a trunk and filed before the Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of the Patiala House Court.

It had named Mr. Purkayastha and PPK NewsClick Studio Private Limited as accused, special public prosecutor Akhand Pratap Singh submitted in the court.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 16.

The chargesheet against NewsClick came nearly six months after the Delhi Police arrested Mr. Purkayastha and human resources head of the news portal Amit Chakraborty, on October 3, 2023. Mr. Chakraborty turned approver in this case in January 2024.

Three extensions

Under Section 43 D of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), the time required to file a chargesheet in a case extends from 90 days to up to 180 days. In the case in hand, the court granted three extensions to the special cell of the Delhi Police to file the chargesheet.

The police was given the first extension in December 2023. The second extension came in February this year, when the court had pulled up the police for ‘slow’ investigation in the case. Later, on March 20, it again extended the time required to file the final report by 10 days.

The matter pertains to an FIR registered by the Delhi Police against the news portal, under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 and 22 of the anti-terror UAPA pertaining to unlawful activities for raising of funds for “a terrorist act”. They were also booked for threatening witness under Sections 153 A and 120 B of the IPC (promoting religious enmity between groups on grounds of religion and criminal conspiracy respectively).

The FIR was registered days after The New York Times published a report on August 8, 2023, that the portal received money from American businessman Neville Roy Singham, an “active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China” to distort the map of India by projecting Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as disputed territory.

The police said the accused received foreign funds of ₹115 crore.

“A false narrative has been propagated to discredit the efforts of Indian government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic,” the police claimed in the chargesheet, in which it claimed to have accessed four lakh emails and seized over 480 electronic devices to support their allegations.

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