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NewsClick row: Delhi Police file over 9,000-page chargesheet under UAPA

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NewsClick row: Delhi Police file over 9,000-page chargesheet under UAPA

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New Delhi: The Special Cell of Delhi Police Saturday filed its first chargesheet running into over 9,000 pages against NewsClick Founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act over allegations that the news portal took money to spread pro-China propaganda.

According to official sources, the charge sheet also contains information regarding 480 electronic devices confiscated during the various raids conducted during the probe.

Now the court will decide whether and when to take cognisance of the charge sheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of the Patiala House Court.

Purkayastha has been accused of accepting foreign funds to destabilise the country, sources said.

The sources also told IANS that Purkayastha has been identified as the primary suspect, while Amit Chakravarty, the HR head of NewsClick, has been granted the role of a witness. Chakravarty had applied to a Delhi court in December 2023, seeking to testify as a government witness.

The chargesheet alleges that Purkayastha accepted funds to undermine the stability of the nation by fabricating narratives and attempting to disrupt the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the sources said.

As per the FIR filed by the Delhi Police August 17 last year, substantial sums of money were clandestinely transferred from China through a convoluted route. This money was then utilised to disseminate paid news articles deliberately criticising India’s domestic policies and developmental initiatives while endorsing, advocating, and defending policies and initiatives of the Chinese government.

The allegations against NewsClick are that it received approximately Rs 38 crore in funding from abroad, the sources said.

January 9, the court granted permission to Chakravarty to become an approver in the case after he had filed an application seeking pardon. He claimed to possess material information, which he was willing to disclose to the Delhi Police.

Earlier October 13, 2023, Purkayastha and Chakravarty’s petitions challenging their arrest and remand were rejected by the high court.

The Special Cell had registered an FIR in connection with the case August 17, 2023, under different sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against NewsClick.

A New York Times investigation had accused NewsClick of receiving funds from a network linked to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda in the country.

IANS

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