Don’t arrest Newsclick editor till August 5, Delhi High Court tells police

FIR concerning foreign funding was registered on Aug. 26 last year.

Updated - July 07, 2021 08:09 pm IST

Published - July 07, 2021 08:07 pm IST - New Delhi

Delhi High Court. File

Delhi High Court. File

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the Delhi Police to not arrest Prabir Purkayastha, editor and owner of news portal Newsclick, in connection with an FIR concerning foreign funding, till August 5, the next date of hearing.

Justice Yogesh Khanna, however, directed the 71-year-old to join the investigation as and when required by the Investigating Officer.

Mr. Purkayastha argued that he was a reputed journalist, being the founder-editor of, set up in 2009 that has become one of the most popular and well-reputed digital media platforms in the country as well as abroad.

The allegation against Mr. Purkayastha is that his company, PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt. Ltd., had Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the tune of ₹9.59 crore from one Worldwide Media Holdings LLC, USA, in the financial year 2018- 19.

It is alleged that this investment was made by “greatly overvaluing” the shares of the company to avoid the alleged cap of 26% of FDI in a digital news website. It is also alleged that over 45% of this investment was diverted or siphoned off for the payment of salary, consultancy, rent and other expenses, which payments are alleged to have been made for ulterior motives.

The police said the company had violated the FDI and other laws of the country and caused a loss to the exchequer.

‘Not loaded on website’

Mr. Purkayastha asserted that the FIR was registered on August 26 last year but was not uploaded on the website of the Delhi Police. He said no investigation into the FIR was carried out by the police for over 10 months.

Mr Purkayastha said he became aware of the FIR only when the Enforcement Directorate (ED) carried out a search and seizure operation at his residence.

Last month, the High Court granted interim protection to Mr. Purkayastha in the ED proceedings.

He argued that he had received a clarification from the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting confirming that there were in fact no restrictions on FDI in digital news media in 2018. “The restrictions of 26% of FDI in digital news media were only introduced by the government in September 2019,” he stated.

Taking note of the submission, the High Court directed the police to submit a status report before August 5.

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