NewsClick: Delhi Court Grants Police 10 More Days to Complete Investigation


Delhi’s Patiala House Court has granted the Police an additional 10 days to complete its investigation against NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha in a case lodged under the anti-terror law UAPA over allegations that the news portal received funds to disseminate pro-China propaganda.

Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur passed the order on an application filed by the police, which sought more time to complete its investigation, citing it as being “at a crucial stage”.

The judge, on December 22, had granted the city police an extension of 60 days to complete the probe. Furthermore, on February 23, the court granted an additional 20 days to the police to conduct the investigation. The judge also extended the judicial custody of Purkayastha and the accused-turned-approver Amit Chakravarty, NewsClick’s HR department head, by another 10 days. The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on October 3. Without the court’s permission, the probe agency would have had three months from the day of the arrest to complete the investigation.

According to the law, if a probe agency fails to complete the investigation within the stipulated time, the accused in custody have a statutory right to bail. The FIR alleges that a significant amount of funds to the news portal originated from China with the intention to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and foster disaffection against the country. It also accuses Purkayastha of conspiring with the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) to disrupt 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 against the suspects named in the FIR and those whose names surfaced in the analysis of data, as per police statements. Approximately 300 electronic gadgets were seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were investigated. Following the raids, the Special Cell questioned 46 individuals, including nine female journalists.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte