‘Arrest was illegal’: SCI orders release of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha in UAPA case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India ordered the release of NewsClick founder and editor Prabir Purkayastha in a UAPA case, ruling his arrest and remand as illegal.

The Indian Apex Court orders release of Purkayastha in UAPA case after holding that his arrest and remand were “illegal”. It is alleged that the news portal received foreign funds in violation of the FCRA case.

“The court has held the arrest and the remand proceedings to be illegal and has directed the release of Purkayastha. We have been directed to furnish the bail bond before the trial court,” said Advocate Arshdeep Khurana.

“This is a major and big relief because we have been maintaining from the beginning that the entire proceedings against him were illegal and the manner of arrest was illegal which has now been upheld by the Supreme Court…” he added.

On October 11, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a case against NewsClick for breaching the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act.

During its investigation into the portal, the Delhi Police accused an active member of the propaganda department of the Communist Party of China, Neville Roy Singham, of fraudulently injecting funds. However, these allegations have been refuted by the portal.

On 10 October, the Patiala House Court of Delhi sent NewsClick’s Founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha and HR head Amit Chakraborty to 10 days of judicial custody. However, the Delhi Court on May 6 granted bail to NewsClick human resources department head Amit Chakraborty in the UAPA case for allegedly receiving foreign funds through Chinese firms to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India.

In January this year, the trial court had allowed Chakravarty to turn an approver in the case and granted pardon to him. He had claimed that he is in possession of “material information” about the case, which he is willing to disclose to the Delhi Police.

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3 last year. The FIR accused Purkayastha of conspiring with a group — People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) — to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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