NewsClick founder, HR head move SC against arrest

New Delhi, October 16: Newsclick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha and the website’s human resources head Amit Chakraborty on Monday approached the Supreme Court challenging his arrest and detention under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) over alleged Chinese funding to promote anti-national propaganda.

A bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing the petitioners, to circulate the papers of the case and it would take a call on listing the matter.

“This is the click” NewsClick matter… the journalists are in police custody… a 70-year-old plus man is in custody,” Sibal told the bench.
Purkayastha and Chakraborty have moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court’s order upholding the trial court order remanding them to police custody. They have since been remanded to judicial custody.

They were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3 after it searched 30 locations connected with the online news portal and its journalists in a case filed under the UAPA following allegations that it received money for pro-China propaganda.

Purkayastha and Chakravarty subsequently moved the High Court challenging the arrest as well as the 7-day police custody and sought immediate release as an interim relief.

According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal allegedly came from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country.

The probe agency also alleged that Purkayastha conspired with a group – People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) – to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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The High Court on Friday rejected their pleas and said it is of the view that “the fact that serious offences affecting the stability, integrity, sovereignty and national security have been alleged against the petitioner, this Court is not inclined to pass any favorable orders.”

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