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NewsClick rejects allegations levelled in FIR against it as untenable, bogus

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NewsDrum Desk
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NewsClick Prabir Purkayastha ED raid

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New Delhi: The NewsClick portal has rejected as untenable and bogus allegations levelled in a Delhi Police FIR against it, and said the proceedings initiated are "nothing but a blatant attempt to muzzle the free and independent press in India".

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In an FIR filed under anti-terror law UAPA against NewsClick, the Delhi Police has alleged a large sum of funds came from China to disrupt India's sovereignty and cause disaffection against the country as part of a "larger criminal conspiracy".

It claimed the foreign fund was fraudulently infused by Neville Roy Singham, an active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China. The Delhi Police served a copy of the FIR to the portal on Friday.

In a statement issued on Friday night, the portal said, "The Newsclick has not received any funding or instructions from China or Chinese entities. Further, Newsclick has never committed or sought to encourage violence, secession or any illegal act in any manner whatsoever.

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"A perusal of Newsclick's coverage, which is freely available online, should be sufficient to indicate the veracity of Newsclick’s claims." It said that Newsclick has full faith in the judicial system of the country and is confident that its stand will be vindicated.

On Monday, the Delhi Police arrested NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and its HR head Amit Chakravarty after raids at nearly 88 locations related to premises of portal and its journalists.

"The allegations in the FIR, apart from being ex facie untenable and bogus, have been made time and again, in investigations by three government agencies – the Enforcement Directorate, the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police, and the income tax department," it said.

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It said that none of these investigations led to any chargesheets or complaints over the last three years." In the statement, the portal said that Purkayastha was granted interim protection in these investigations, and the latest FIR has been registered only to circumvent this and carry out "illegal arrests" under the draconian UAPA.

The portal also said Purkayastha was supplied with a copy of the FIR registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell only on Thursday night pursuant to the directions of the Special Judge, Patiala House.

"We immediately moved the High Court of Delhi seeking quashing of the FIR as well as release of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty from their illegal police custody," it said.

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The Delhi Police had registered an FIR under section sections 13, 16,17, 18 and 22C of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and 153A, and 120B of the IPC and arrested Purkayastha and human resources head for allegedly receiving foreign funds from China to disrupt India's sovereignty and cause disaffection against the country.

The Delhi Police, meanwhile, is likely to question ten people who are named in the FIR on Monday. This includes senior journalists of the news clicks and contributors.

Police officials said they have called another set of people allegedly connected to the case. At least 20 people have already been over Thursday and Friday.

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