A Delhi court has allowed NewsClick’s human resources head Amit Chakraborty to turn approver in a case filed against the news portal under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur of Patiala House Courts also granted him a pardon in the matter.
Chakraborty had earlier last month moved an application in court, seeking permission to turn approver in the case and expressed willingness to disclose information to Delhi Police.
NewsClick has been accused of acting with the intention to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India and cause “disaffection” against India.
In August, the Delhi Police Special Cell registered a first information report (FIR) under sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code against NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and Chakraborty. Both were arrested in October.
Among the allegations in the FIR against Purkayastha were attempts to show Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as “not parts of India”, discrediting the government’s fight against Covid, funding the farmers’ agitation, and “putting up a spirited defence of legal cases” against Chinese telecom companies such as Xiaomi and Vivo.
Purkayastha and Chakraborty were arrested following day-long searches at more than 50 locations linked to the news portal, its employees and contributors. After the searches, the police said 46 “suspects” had been questioned and their “digital devices” seized.
In its remand application, the Special Cell stated that there were “secret inputs” that “foreign funds in crores have been infused illegally into India by Indian and foreign entities inimical to India in pursuance of conspiracy with the intention to disrupt sovereignty and territorial integrity of India, to cause disaffection against India and to threaten the unity, integrity, security of India”.
The Indian Express had reported earlier that the Delhi Police had moved an application before a Delhi court to protect the identities of five “potential witnesses” in its probe against NewsClick and Purkayastha. Recently, the court had also granted Delhi Police two months to complete the investigation.