Prabir Purkayastha, the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick, has taken legal action by approaching the Delhi High Court to seek the quashing of the First Information Report (FIR) registered against him and others. The petition also challenges a trial court’s decision to grant remand to Prabir Purkayastha and HR Head Amit Chakravarty in this matter.
Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal presented the case before the bench of the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, requesting an urgent hearing. The bench has acknowledged the submissions and scheduled the matter for a hearing on October 6.
Two Petitions Filed by NewsClick
NewsClick has filed two petitions in this matter. The first seeks the quashing of the FIR, asserting that the arrest of the accused individuals is illegal. The second petition challenges the order from Patiala House Court, which remanded them to seven days of police custody.
Allegations Against Prabir Purkayastha
The Delhi Police have made serious allegations against Prabir Purkayastha, claiming that he conspired to propagate the narrative that Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are disputed territories in collaboration with a Shanghai-based company.
According to the Delhi Police’s remand plea, secret information suggests that Prabir Purkayastha, Neville Roy Singham (reputedly an active member of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China), and certain Chinese employees of Singham’s Shanghai-based company, StarStream, exchanged emails with the intent to portray Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as not part of India. These actions are alleged to be part of a conspiracy to undermine India’s unity and territorial integrity.
Disruption of Essential Supplies and Services
The accused individuals are also accused of conspiring to disrupt essential supplies and services vital to life and supporting damage and destruction of property by prolonging farmers’ protests through illegal foreign funding.
The Delhi Police claim that Prabir Purkayastha conspired with a group called People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 general elections. They allege that the People’s Dispatch Portal, owned and maintained by M/S PPK NewsClick Studio Pvt Ltd, was used to intentionally spread false narratives through paid news in exchange for significant amounts of illegally routed foreign funds.
Illegal Infusion of Foreign Funds
Delhi Police stated that foreign funds amounting to crores of rupees were illegally infused into India by Indian and foreign entities inimical to India. Their alleged aim was to disrupt India’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and cause disaffection, as well as threaten the country’s unity, integrity, and security.
It is alleged that these funds were fraudulently infused by Neville Roy Singham through a complex web of several entities, including M/s Worldwide Media Holdings LLC (USA) and others. Various companies, including Tricontinental India Pvt Ltd and GSPAN India Pvt Ltd, were incorporated to infuse funds into India by circumventing existing rules for the receipt of foreign funds by NGOs.
The police also claim that Gautam Navlakha, a shareholder in PPK NewsClick Studio Pvt Ltd since its inception in 2018, has been involved in anti-Indian and unlawful activities, including actively supporting banned Naxal organisations and having an anti-national nexus with Gulam Nabi Fai, who is an agent of ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) in Pakistan.
It has been revealed that Gautam Navlakha has had an association with Prabir Purkayastha since 1991 when they incorporated Sagrik Process Analyst Pvt Ltd. This legal battle is poised to shed light on these serious allegations and their implications for NewsClick and its key personnel.