Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Delhi Police files 8,000-page chargesheet in UAPA case against NewsClick’s Prabir Puryakayastha

The Delhi Police Special Cell on Saturday filed an 8,000-page chargesheet in the UAPA case against NewsClick founder and editor Prabir Puryakayastha.

The veteran journalist has been in judicial custody since November.

The chargesheet filed before the Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of the Patiala House Court. The court posted the matter for further hearing on April 16.

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 chargesheet against NewsClick came nearly six months after the Delhi Police arrested Purkayastha and human resources head of the news portal Amit Chakraborty, on October 3, 2023. Chakraborty turned approver in this case in January 2024.

Editors, co-founders and employees of the news portal have been named in the chargesheet, according to public prosecutors, Akhand Pratap Singh and Suraj Rathi.

US-based billionaire Neville Roy Singham has also been named as the “accused”.

NewsClick, founded in 2009, has been known for criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Hindu nationalist politics.

Meanwhile, two international groups – Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and Guernica 37 Chambers – have called on the European Union to sanction four Delhi Police officers who were responsible for the raids on about 90 journalists associated with Newsclick in October last year.

While RSF is a global press freedom body, Guernica 37 Chambers which specialises in human rights and international criminal law.

“The actions of the Delhi Police Special Cell against journalists associated with NewsClick represent one of the most blatant attacks on press freedom in India. These raids, carried out on an unprecedented scale, with the deployment of 500 police officers, are an alarming step in an already worrying context of repression of journalists. These acts of terror require urgent action on the part of the European Union. This would be a strong act to alert the international community on the unacceptable repression of journalists, and a necessary warning to the Indian authorities in the run-up to the general elections,” said Celia Mercier, South Asia desk, Reporters Without Borders.

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