Sunday, June 16, 2024

UAPA case: Delhi court extends judicial custody of NewsClick editor, HR head till Dec 22

A Delhi court on Friday extended till December 22 the judicial custody of NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and Human Resources head Amit Chakravarty in a case lodged under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The two were produced before Special Judge Hardeep Kaur of Patiala House Court on expiry of their previously granted jail time.

Both Purkayastha and Chakravarty moved the court seeking release of electronic devices seized by police and bail, respectively.

On November 17, Charavarty’s counsel had argued that he has only 0.09 per cent share in the organisation, and has no role in journalism or management, and the Police had raised questions on the maintainability of the bail application.

On October 25, the special judge had sent the duo to police custody after they (the police) told the court that they have the right to seek further custody of Purkayastha and Chakravarty, and that they need to confront them with protected witnesses and electronic material recovered. They were produced before court on expiry of their five-day judicial custody.

Additional Public Prosecutor (APP) for police Atul Srivastava had told the court that they have the right to seek further custody and therefore, they are exercising the same.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Purkayastha and Chakravarty on October 3. A day after their arrest, the special judge had sent them to seven days’ police custody on October 4. Both then moved the high court challenging their police remand, which was upheld by the high court.

The duo had also taken the matter to the Supreme Court against the dismissal of their petitions challenging police remand, and on October 19, the apex court had issued notices to Delhi Police on the petitions.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, representing Purkayastha, had earlier argued before the high court that “all facts are false and not a penny came from China”.

On October 3, in a statement regarding the search, seizure and detentions carried out in connection with the UAPA case registered by the Special Cell, the Delhi Police had said that a total of 37 male suspects were questioned at the office premises, while nine female suspects were questioned at their residences.

The police said that digital devices, documents, etc., were seized or collected for examination. The Special Cell had registered an FIR in connection with the case on August 17 under different sections of the UAPA and the Indian Penal Code against NewsClick.

In August, a ‘New York Times’ investigation had accused NewsClick of being an organisation funded by a network linked with US millionaire Neville Roy Singham, to allegedly promote Chinese propaganda.

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