Supreme Court orders release of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha

The Supreme Court of India has declared the release of NewsClick founder and editor, Prabir Purkayastha, as illegal.

| Updated: 15 May, 2024 2:36 pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India has declared the release of NewsClick founder and editor, Prabir Purkayastha, as illegal. This decision comes after allegations that the news portal received foreign funds, violating the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a case against NewsClick on October 11 for breaching the FCRA. During the investigation, the Delhi Police accused Neville Roy Singham, an active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China, of injecting funds fraudulently into the portal. However, NewsClick has refuted these allegations.On October 10, the Patiala House Court of Delhi sent Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty, the head of human resources at NewsClick, to 10 days of judicial custody.

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A division bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta announced the decision after finishing discussions on April 30. The court noted that Prabir Purkayasatha didn’t receive a copy of the remand application before being sent into custody on October 4, 2023. Recently, the Delhi Court granted bail to Amit Chakravarty in the UAPA case, where he was accused of receiving foreign funds from Chinese firms to disrupt India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In January, the trial court permitted Chakravarty to become an approver in the case, granting him pardon. He claimed to possess “material information” about the case, which he was willing to disclose to the Delhi Police.

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Prabir Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3 last year. The FIR accused Purkayastha of conspiring with a group, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS), to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Raids were conducted at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on October 3 last year on the suspects named in the FIR and those whose names surfaced following data analysis, according to the police.

The Supreme Court’s ruling provides relief to Prabir Purkayastha and raises questions about the legality of the release against him.

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