A Delhi court on Wednesday sent NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakraborty to police custody till November 2 in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Bar and Bench reported.

Purkayastha and Chakraborty were arrested on October 3 after the Delhi Police raided several journalists associated with NewsClick following allegations that the news organisation received money to spread Chinese propaganda. A city court first remanded them to police custody for seven days and subsequently to judicial custody till October 20, which was extended till October 25.

They were produced before Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of the Patiala House Court on the expiry of their judicial custody. The Delhi Police told the court that it needed their custody to confront them with protected witnesses and devices.

Advocate Arshdeep Singh Khurana, appearing for Purkayastha and Chakraborty, opposed the remand arguing that the police’s questioning can happen in judicial custody too.

On October 16, Purkayastha and Chakraborty challenged the Delhi High Court’s judgement upholding their arrest, in the Supreme Court. The top court, on October 19, issued a notice to the police, reported Live Law.

The police have accused NewsClick of taking funds from China in a “circuitous and camouflaged manner” to disrupt India’s sovereignty.

The case was registered after The New York Times alleged in an August 5 report that the Indian news website had received money from American businessman Neville Roy Singham, who worked closely with the “Chinese government media machine” to spread its propaganda. The FIR describes Singham as an active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China.

On October 6, NewsClick said that the “absurd nature” of the allegations shows that the proceedings are nothing but an attempt to muzzle the free press.

Meanwhile, Singham alleged that The New York Times “intentionally chose not to publish” his responses to the August 5 article and did disservice to the cause of press freedom.

The American investor termed the newspaper’s article as a “misleading and innuendo-laden hit piece” on him. He said he had given his response to The New York Times on July 22 but the newspaper did not publish his point of view.

Singham claimed that he does not take orders from any government or political party in the world. “I do not work for, nor take instruction from, nor receive funding from the Propaganda Department or any division of the Chinese government or the Communist Party of China, as the FIR [first information report] claims and is suggested in the NYT article,” he said.

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