NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha
Prabir Purkayastha. File photo

NewsClick case: Supreme Court orders release of Prabir Purkayastha

The Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested Purkayastha on October 3 last year and he is currently in judicial custody

The Supreme Court on Wednesday (May 15) ordered the release of news portal NewsClick's founder Prabir Purkayastha. He was arrested by Delhi Police under anti-terror law UAPA over allegations that the website received money to spread pro-China propaganda.

The top court declared Purkayashtha's arrest as "invalid". The order was issued by a Bench of Justices B R Gavai and Sandeep Mehta.

After the verdict, advocate Arshdeep Khurana told ANI, "Supreme Court has held the arrest and the remand proceedings to be illegal and has directed the release of Purkayastha. We have been directed to furnish the bail bond before the trial court. This is a major and big relief because we have been maintaining from the beginning that the entire proceedings against him were illegal and the manner of arrest was illegal which has now been upheld by the Supreme Court."

Earlier this month, on May 6, the Delhi High Court had ordered the release of NewsClick’s human resources department chief Amit Chakravarty from custody. Chakravarty had turned approver in the case in January.

In January, a trial court allowed Chakravarty to turn an approver in the case and granted him a pardon.

Chakravarty has claimed he is in possession of “material information” about the case which he was willing to disclose to the Delhi Police.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on October 3 last year. Purkayastha is currently in judicial custody.

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

It also alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group — 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 on the suspects named in the FIR and those that surfaced in the analysis of data, police said.

Around 300 electronic gadgets were also seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were examined.

Following the raids, 46 individuals, including nine female journalists, were questioned by the Special Cell.

(With agency inputs)

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