Prabir Purkayastha, the founder of NewsClick, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly receiving funds to spread pro-China propaganda, has vehemently denied the accusations, asserting that they are “false” and “bogus.” Purkayastha made these statements during proceedings in the Delhi High Court, where he, along with Amit Chakravarty, the head of the news portal’s human resources department, challenged their arrest and subsequent 7-day police remand.
The Delhi Police arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on October 3 in connection with a case that alleges NewsClick received ₹75 crore from an individual in China with the aim of compromising India’s stability and integrity. During the court hearing, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the investigation agency, argued that the case involved “serious offenses,” and the probe was still ongoing.
One of the key allegations in the case pertains to an email exchange between the accused and an individual in China. The emails reportedly discussed plans to create a map that did not show Arunachal Pradesh as a part of India, using the term “northern border of India,” a phrase commonly used by China.
However, Prabir Purkayastha’s legal team, led by senior advocate Kapil Sibal, refuted these claims, categorically stating that “not a penny has come from China” and describing the entire case as “bogus.” They argued that their arrest and subsequent remand were in violation of legal requirements, including the Supreme Court’s recent decision that mandates the supply of written grounds of arrest at the time of apprehension.
Furthermore, Purkayastha’s lawyers raised concerns about the transparency of the arrest process, pointing out that they were not informed about the grounds of arrest when it occurred. They also noted discrepancies in the timing of the remand order and emphasized that the arrests were in violation of Article 22 of the Constitution, which requires the accused to be informed about the grounds of arrest and to have access to legal representation.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that the arrests were “legal as per the textual requirements of UAPA” because the accused were “informed” about the grounds of arrest. He further suggested that even if the remand order were to be quashed, it would not result in the immediate release of the accused, as they could be sent to judicial custody instead.
The Delhi High Court has reserved its order on the pleas by Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty challenging their arrest and remand. Additionally, the court will address the issuance of notices pertaining to the quashing of the FIR in the case at the time of its decision on the challenges to arrest and remand.
The case against NewsClick and its founder has generated significant attention and debate, with the accused firmly denying the allegations and asserting that they have not received any funds from China for pro-China propaganda. The legal proceedings will continue to unfold as both sides present their arguments in court.
Sources By Agencies