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'Is Critical Reporting Of Covid Policy, Farmers Protest Terrorism?', Asks NewsClick Counsel At Court Appearance

On Monday, the Delhi High Court concluded its hearing and deferred its decision on the petitions filed by NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty, challenging both their arrests and the subsequent 7-day police custody.

NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha
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In a court appearance on Tuesday, NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and human resources department head Amit Chakravarty, who are facing charges under the anti-terror law UAPA for alleged involvement in receiving funds to disseminate pro-China propaganda through the news portal, were presented by the Delhi Police.

The two were produced before Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur around 2:50 PM. 

What did Prabir Purkayastha's counsel say?

 The prosecution sought 10 days judicial custody for the duo, which was firmly opposed by Purkayastha's counsel, who asserted no case was made out against his client.

The counsel for Chakravarty argued he was not a journalist nor had received any payment.

"Is doing reporting critical of Covid policy, farmers protest terrorism?" asked Prabir Purkayastha's counsel.

He also said no prima facie case was made out against him under the anti-terror law UAPA.

The court is expected to pass an order on the police's plea after the conclusion of the arguments.

Allegations against Prabir Purkayastha

According to the FIR, many funds to the news portal came from China to "disrupt the sovereignty of India" and cause disaffection against the country.

It also alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group -- People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) -- to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on October 3. Police also sealed NewsClick's office in Delhi. 

Raids were conducted at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on October 3 on the suspects named in the FIR and those that surfaced in the data analysis,  police said.

Around 300 electronic gadgets were also seized from the offices of the NewsClick and residences of the journalists who were examined. 

Following the raids, 46 individuals, including nine female journalists, were questioned by the Special Cell in Delhi and NCR.

On Monday, the Delhi High Court concluded its hearing and deferred its decision on the petitions filed by Purkayastha and Chakravarty, challenging both their arrests and the subsequent 7-day police custody.

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