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NewsClick founder conspired to show Kashmir, Arunachal as not part of India: Police

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NewsDrum Desk
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Prabir Purkayastha

Prabir Purkayastha (File photo)

New Delhi: The Delhi Police has accused NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha, arrested in a case filed under anti-terror law UAPA following charges that the portal received money to spread pro-China propaganda, of conspiring to peddle a narrative that Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are disputed territories.

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Purkayastha and the human resources department head at NewsClick, Amit Chakravarty, were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Tuesday.

In their remand application, police said: "Secret inputs revealed that Purkayastha, Neville Roy Singham and some other Chinese employees of Singham-owned Shanghai-based company have exchanged mails which expose their intent to show Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as not part of India."

"Such attempts by these persons reveal their conspiracy to peddle a narrative, both globally and domestically, that Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are disputed territories. Their attempts to tinker with the northern borders of India and to show Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as not parts of India in maps amount to an act intended towards undermining the unity and territorial integrity of India," the application said.

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It was also learnt that Gautam Navlakha, a shareholder in NewsClick, was involved in anti-India and unlawful activities, such as actively supporting banned Naxal organisations and having an anti-national nexus with Gulam Nabi Fai, an agent of Pakistani spy agency ISI, it stated.

It has also been learnt that foreign funds were siphoned off by Purkayastha and his associates, police said.

"The accused persons have also conspired to disrupt supplies and services essential to the life of community in India and abet damage and destruction of property by protraction of farmers' protest through such illegal foreign funding," the application said.

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A false narrative was propagated to discredit the Indian government's efforts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, police said in the application.

It was learnt that Purkayastha conspired with a group -- People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism -- to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. It was also learnt that People's Dispatch Portal, owned and maintained by NewsClick, was used for intentionally peddling these false narratives in lieu of crores of rupees of illegally routed foreign funds as part of a conspiracy, the application stated.

An analysis of e-mails shows that Singham, Purkayastha and Chakravarty were in direct contact with each other and were found to be discussing how to create a map of India without Kashmir and to show Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed area, it added.

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To achieve the objective, the accused, in the guise of foreign funds, received more than Rs 115 crore, according to the application.

Raids were conducted on Tuesday at 88 locations in Delhi and seven locations in other states on the suspects named in the FIR, police said.

The Delhi Police had applied for 15 days' police remand for both the accused and got their custody for seven days.

Police have sealed NewsClick's office in Delhi, officials said, adding that 46 suspects were questioned and digital devices, including laptops and mobile phones, besides documents, taken away for examination.

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