Court remands NewsClick founder, HR head to nine days of police custody

Court granted custody after the police said that they needed to confront the accused with protected witnesses and electronic materials recovered

Published - October 25, 2023 09:40 pm IST - New Delhi

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha. File

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha. File | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and its human resources (HR) head Anil Chakraborty were on Wednesday sent to nine days of police custody in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) case.

Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of Patiala House Courts has remanded Mr. Purkayastha and Mr. Chakraborty to police custody after the Delhi Police submitted in the court that they need to confront the accused with protected witnesses and electronic materials recovered.

The two will now be produced before the Court on November 02. This is the second time the duo has been sent to police custody after being arrested on October 03.

Initially, the Court has given the police remand of Mr. Purkayastha and Mr. Chakraborty for seven days, till October 10. They were later sent to judicial custody which ended on Wednesday.

Appearing for the police on the day when their judicial custody ended, Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) Atul Srivastava submitted in the court that the police have the right to seek further custody of the accused and therefore, they are exercising the same.

Meanwhile, Advocate Arshdeep Singh Khurana, who appeared for Mr. Purkayastha, objected to the police custody and said that the ground to unearth larger conspiracy was also taken by the police on the first day.

“They need to show what is the new thing they need to discover. All that they want to do in police custody can be done in judicial custody as well,” he said.

The matter pertains to an FIR registered by the Delhi Police against the news portal, under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 and 22 of the anti-terror UAPA on unlawful activities for raising funds for a terrorist act. They were also booked for threatening witness under Sections 153-A and 120-B of the IPC (promoting religious enmity between groups on grounds of religion and criminal conspiracy, respectively).

The FIR, lodged in August this year, was registered days after The New York Times published a report on August 8 that the portal received money from American businessman Neville Roy Singham to spread Chinese propaganda.

As reported by The Hindu, the journalists and other staff members of NewsClick were asked questions about Delhi communal riots and the CAA agitation of 2019-20, the farmers’ protest of 2020-2021, their association with Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), and if they used encrypted messaging applications such as Signal on their phones or wrote anything about Sikh separatism issue.

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