The Supreme Court on November 6, adjourned until after the Diwali break pleas filed by NewsClick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha and website’s human resources head Amit Chakraborty challenging their arrest under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) over alleged Chinese funding to promote anti-national propaganda.
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and PK Mishra said, “We will have it immediately after vacation.” Senior advocate Kapil Sibal told the bench, “Grounds of arrest have to be supplied in writing. Nothing has been supplied.”
Earlier, the top court had issued notice to Delhi police on pleas.
Purkayastha and Chakraborty moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court’s order upholding the trial court order remanding them to police custody. They have since been remanded to judicial custody.
They were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3 after it searched 30 locations connected with the online news portal and its journalists in a case filed under the UAPA following allegations that it received money for pro-China propaganda.
Purkayastha and Chakravarty subsequently moved the High Court challenging the arrest as well as the seven-day police custody and sought immediate release as an interim relief.
The Court had rejected their pleas and said it is of the view that “the fact that serious offences affecting the stability, integrity, sovereignty and national security have been alleged against the petitioner, this Court is not inclined to pass any favourable orders.”
According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal allegedly came from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country.
The probe agency also alleged that Purkayastha conspired with a group – People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) – to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
(with inputs from ANI)