A Delhi court on Thursday extended the judicial custody of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakraborty by 21 days, The Indian Express reported.
Purkayastha and Chakraborty were arrested on October 3 in a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act after the Delhi Police raided several journalists associated with NewsClick. The police have alleged that the news organisation received money to spread Chinese propaganda.
A city court first remanded them to police custody for seven days and then to judicial custody till October 20, which was extended by five more days.
On October 25, the Patiala House Court sent the duo to police custody till November 2 after Delhi Police told the court that it needed their custody to confront them with protected witnesses and devices.
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.
Singham, on his part, alleged that The New York Times “intentionally chose not to publish” his responses to the August 5 article and did a disservice to the cause of press freedom.
The businessman said 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.