Bogus, untenable: NewsClick rejects Delhi Police charges, FIRtext_fields
New Delhi: The NewsClick portal has rejected the allegations against it by the Delhi Police special cell that it accepted funds and instructions from China, to disrupt India's sovereignty, and dismissed them as “absurd”.
Calling the FIR “ex facie untenable and bogus," the portal said that it contains allegations that have surfaced repeatedly during investigations by three different government agencies- the Enforcement Directorate, the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police, and the Income tax department.
The statement comes days after the police arrested the portal's founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and its HR head Amit Chakravarty, hours after raiding the portal's journalists and 88 locations allegedly linked to it.
NewsClick stated on Friday night that it has never committed or encouraged violence, secession, or any illegal activities.
"The allegations in the FIR, apart from being ex facie untenable and bogus, have been made time and again, in investigations by three government agencies – the Enforcement Directorate, the Economic Offences Wing, Delhi Police, and the income tax department," it said.
None of these investigations led to any chargesheets or complaints over the last three years, the portal said in a statement. Prabir was also granted interim protection in these investigations, it further said.
According to NewsClick, the latest FIR appears to have been registered to circumvent this protection and carry out illegal arrests under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
The Delhi Police registered an FIR under sections 13, 16,17, 18 and 22C of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, and 153A, and 120B of the IPC.
A copy of the FIR was provided to NewsClick after a Delhi court's intervention.
NewsClick has in earlier statements as well, consistently denied receiving any funding or instructions from China or Chinese entities.
The company also stated that its coverage, which is freely available online, was sufficient to substantiate its claims.
NewsClick has maintained that the charges against them are nothing but a “blatant attempt to muzzle the free and independent press in India”.
The news portal has moved the Delhi High Court seeking the quashing of the FIR and the release of Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty from their alleged illegal police custody.
The Delhi High Court, taking cognizance of the matter, issued notice today in response to the petitions filed by Prabir and Amit and scheduled further hearings for Monday.
The police are expected to question ten people, including senior journalists, on Monday.