Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty have moved the Delhi High Court challenging their arrest in alleged case of Chinese funding.
The duo also sought quashing of the first information report (FIR) registered against them under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
The matter was mentioned on Friday morning by Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal before Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma for urgent listing.
‘We are mentioning the NewsClick matter. The arrest has been made entirely illegally,’ Sibal said.
The Court agreed to list the matter today.
Purkayastha, founder and Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick, and Chakravarty, HR director, were arrested following a series of raids that were conducted in the wake of allegations made in an NYT article that NewsClick was being paid to boost Chinese propaganda.
The NYT report accused NewsClick of being an organisation funded by a network linked with US millionaire Neville Roy Singham, to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda.
Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested on October 3 following a long questioning and searches at several locations.
Both were remanded to seven days police custody in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
However, they were not initially given a copy of the FIR. They then approached a Delhi court which on Thursday allowed the plea to get FIR copy.
According to a statement by the Delhi Police ’37 male suspects have been questioned at premises, 9 female suspects have been questioned at their respective places of stay.’
Thirty locations connected with the portal and its journalists were searched by the Delhi Police Special Cell today. Among those questioned were journalists Urmilesh, Aunindyo Chakravarty, Abhisar Sharma, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta as well as historian Sohail Hashmi.
Purkayastha had been brought to the Delhi Police Special Cell headquarters for questioning. In addition, the cops also sealed the publication’s office.
In connection with the UAPA case, the Delhi Police searched the houses of numerous journalists and staff associated with the internet portal NewsClick on Tuesday. In this case, the police have questioned 46 persons.
During the raid, authorities recovered electronic evidence such as computers and mobile phones, as well as hard disc data dumps. The searches were conducted based on information provided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) suggesting alleged illegal activity by the suspects.
According to reports, police posed a list of 25 questions on their overseas travels, rallies against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in Shaheen Bagh, and the farmers’ struggle.
The ED has previously conducted searches on the firm’s offices to investigate its funding sources. According to authorities, the Special Cell is currently continuing its search based on information supplied by the central agency.
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