The Delhi Police Special Cell on Saturday filed an 8,000-page chargesheet in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act case against NewsClick founder and editor Prabir Puryakayastha, who has been in judicial custody since November.

Purkayastha and NewsClick’s parent company PPK NewsClick Studio Pvt. Ltd. have been named as accused parties that allegedly received funds through Chinese entities “with the intention of undermining India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”.

The Delhi Police had on October 3 raided several journalists associated with NewsClick and arrested Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty, NewsClick’s head of human resources. In January, a Delhi court allowed Chakraborty to turn approver – or act as a government witness – in the case filed under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Non-profit organisations Reporters Without Borders and Guernica 37 Chambers on Wednesday called on the European Union to sanction four high-ranking officers of the Delhi Police for “exactions” against journalists associated with news website NewsClick.

Without naming the police officers, the organisations said that they ordered raids on the homes of 46 journalists associated with NewsClick in Delhi and surrounding towns in October.

Purkayastha had appealed to the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court on October 13 dismissed a petition against his and Chakraborty’s arrest. The High Court had said that their actions “directly impact the stability, integrity and sovereignty of the country”.

Case against NewsClick

The case was registered after The New York Times alleged in an August 5 report that NewsClick had received money from American businessman Neville Roy Singham, who worked closely with the “Chinese government media machine” to spread its propaganda.

The Delhi Police’s first information report 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.

On December 19, NewsClick said that the Income Tax Department has “virtually frozen” its bank accounts, restricting it from paying salaries to its staff.

The action by the Income Tax Department appeared to be a continuation of the “administrative-legal siege”, the news website had said in a statement, highlighting the Enforcement Directorate’s raids against it in February 2021, an Income Tax Department survey in September 2021 and the October 3 crackdown by the Delhi Police Special Cell.

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