The Delhi High Court on Thursday extended interim protection from coercive action against news website Newsclick’s editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and PPK Newsclick Studio Private Limited, till September 2, in connection with an alleged money laundering case, Live Law reported. PPK Newsclick Studio Private Limited owns the news website.
In an earlier hearing, the court had ordered the police not to arrest Purkayastha till August 5 in the case pertaining to foreign funding.
The police had alleged that Purkayastha had received Rs 9.59 crore in Foreign Direct Investment from a firm named Worldwide Media Holdings in the United States in 2018-’19 financial year. They claimed that PPK Newsclick Studio Private Limited overvalued its shares to escape the 26% limit on Foreign Direct Investment for news websites.
Newsclick has countered the accusations. Its counsel, Kapil Sibal, had informed the court that the 26% limit on FDI was only introduced in September 2019. He had added that there were no restrictions on FDI in digital news media in 2018 when Newclick had received the funding.
The Enforcement Directorate had conducted raids at the office of Newsclick and Purkayastha’s home in February based on the allegations levelled by Delhi Police.
Purkayastha had moved the Delhi High Court seeking to quash the Enforcement Case Information Report filed by the Enforcement Directorate in the case. On June 21, the court had asked the investigating agency to provide a copy of the ECIR to Purkayastha.
However, during Thursday’s court proceedings, a single-judge bench of Justice Mukta Gupta noted that the ED was yet to provide the ECIR copy, PTI reported. The court then decided to adjourn the matter and extend the protection granted to Purkayastha and PPK Newsclick Studio Private Limited.