The Delhi Police are on Tuesday conducting raids in at least 35 locations, including houses of seven journalists and places associated with the news portal NewsClick.
A fresh case has been registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell against the news portal under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The organisation is under the scanner of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) amid allegations it received funds from China.
Sources said the funds were received illegally and documents were not provided to the authorities, according to The Indian Express reports.
One of the journalists, Abhisar Sharma, posted on X, “Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and Phone…”
On Tuesday morning, the Delhi Police sent their Special Cell teams to the residences of several journalists associated with the organisation. Sources said they seized devices, including laptops and mobile phones, belonging to the journalists. Several journalists have been detained for questioning.
The police are also conducting raids at residences and buildings attached to the news portal and its founders/editors. Raids were also conducted in Mumbai, including Teesta Setalvad’s house. Meanwhile, comedian Sanjay Rajaura was taken to the Special Cell’s office in Lodhi Colony for questioning.
While no arrests have been made yet, the police said they might detain a few people based on the investigation.
The raids are being conducted in connection with the ED investigation.
Union I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said, “The probe agencies are independent and they are doing their jobs by following rules.” “I don’t need to justify the raids. If someone has done something wrong, the probe agencies do their job. It’s nowhere written that probe agencies can’t take action if money has come to you from wrong sources or something objectionable has been done,” he added, while responding to a question over the raids against NewsClick by reporters in Bhubaneswar.
The Press Club of India, in a statement, expressed concern over the raids, stating that they “stand in solidarity with the journalists and demand the government to come out with details”.
In August this year, The New York Times published an investigation alleging NewsClick is among organisations funded by a network tied to US millionaire Neville Roy Singham for pushing Chinese propaganda.
“The authorities in India raided a news organization tied to Mr Singham during a crackdown on the press, accusing it of having ties to the Chinese government but offering no proof… In New Delhi, corporate filings show, Mr. Singham’s network financed a news site, NewsClick, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points,” the NYT had reported.
This claim against the portal was first made by the ED in 2021 when it searched NewsClick’s premises as part of a probe into alleged foreign remittances.
Responding to the report, NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha had said, “These are not new allegations. They have been made in the past. We will respond to them in the appropriate forum, i.e. the court, as the matter is sub judice.”
The organisation was also raided by the Income Tax Department in 2021.
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