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Newsclick Row: Prabir Purkayastha moves Delhi court, seeks seized electronic devices back, HR head moves bail plea
New Delhi: The Newsclick's Founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha has moved an application in the trial court seeking the release of his electronic devices seized by Delhi Police.
HR head Amit Chakravarty has also moved a bail petition.
Notably, both were arrested recently by Delhi Police in a case filed under the anti-terror law UAPA following allegations that News Portal NewsClick received huge money for pro-China propaganda.
The matter was listed before the Additional Sessions Judge Dr Hardeep Kaur on Friday, where Delhi Police sought times to file its reply on both petitions. The court fixed October 31 for a hearing on Prabir Purkayastha's petition and November 4, for a hearing on the bail petition moved by Amit Chakravarty.
On October 25, the trial court had allowed the Delhi Police application which sought 9 days of further custodial remand of Prabir and Amit Chakravarty.
Prabir and Amit Chakravarty on Wednesday were produced after the end of their Judicial custody period. They were earlier granted 10 days and 5 days of Judicial custody by the same court.
According to the Delhi Police plea, their custodial interrogation required them to confront them with some protected witnesses and also some devices were examined and the data extracted.
Earlier, Advocate Arshdeep Singh Khurana argued on behalf of Prabir Purkayastha that I was questioned, and I've answered all their queries. In the matter of EoW (Delhi Police) and ED, I was protected by the Delhi High Court in 2021, which orders are continuing even till today. He also submitted that the allegations made in FIR are absolutely absurd.
"There is no allegation that I used bomb dynamite or any other explosive substance. There is no allegation that I used any criminal force or that I caused the death of any public functionary. How can by reporting, by acting or by having a profession as a journalist, can I commit a terrorist act? If I through article raised question over Central Government Covid policy, is this the act of terrorism?" he submitted.
The lawyer further submitted that my client is a journalist with repute and he is a renowned person for his independent voice.
"But they (Agency) filed FIR under stringent sections of UAPA. The agency's allegation is that I'm associated with Gautam Navlakha who is facing UAPA charges. And since he is facing UAPA charges, you also face UAPA charges. Mere association with someone has become a crime? He is a fellow journalist. I have known him since 1991. Now you are suddenly targeting me because of this association," he said.
Advocate Rohit Sharma appeared for Amit Chakravarty HR Head, submitted that Chakravarty is neither a journalist nor an editor and did not write any article.
"I am a poor person having responsibility for my family. I am a handicap man. Since 2021 I have been summoned by agencies on various occasions and a lot of my information about bank accounts, emails - everything has been seized. I've never been arrested. I'm not responsible in any way for the content that is published on the website and I perform administrative tasks... but I don't know I have been suddenly arrested in the case," Advocate Sharma submitted.
The Delhi Police's Special Cell in its FIR against news web portal NewsClick's founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha stated that People's Dispatch Portal, owned and maintained by PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt. Ltd. has been used for intentionally peddling false narratives through paid news in lieu of crores of rupees of illegally routed foreign funds as part of the conspiracy.
Delhi Police FIR further stated that foreign funds in crores have been infused illegally in India by Indian and Foreign entities inimical to India in pursuance of conspiracy with the intention to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, to cause disaffection against India and to threaten the unity, integrity, security of India.
Foreign funds in crores have been infused illegally in India by Indian and Foreign entities inimical to India in pursuance of conspiracy with the intention to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, to cause disaffection against India and to threaten the unity, integrity, and security of India, stated in FIR.