Senior Indian journalist and founder and Editor-in-Chief of news website NewsClick Prabir Purkayastha was arrested by the Indian Police under the Unlawful Activities Act late evening on Tuesday (3) following allegations of ‘receiving money for pro-Chinese propaganda’.
He is expected to be produced in a court in Delhi on Wednesday.
The Head of Human Resources at the channel Amit Chakravarthy was also arrested.
Earlier in the day, Indian Police raided many places allegedly connected with NewsClick and summoned over 40 persons including journalists for interrogation.
Among those questioned were nine females who were talked to at their place of stay. The office of the news website is also sealed by the police.
Police claim they have seized electronic evidence including mobiles, laptops, and a huge load of hard disks with data. The early morning raids were carried out after the special branch of the Indian Police Enforcement Directorate (ED) apparently shared inputs on what they called ‘money laundering’.
Those interrogated by the law enforcement authorities were posed with over two dozen questions which included details of their foreign travel, participation in protests against the proposed Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and the 16-month-long farmers protest in the capital city Delhi.
The ED raid on the premises of NewsClick is said to probe the source of its funding.
A story by The New York Times recently reported the news website allegedly receiving money from a US millionaire for carrying out pro-China propaganda in India.
Police claim NewsClick received close to USD 05 million from various agencies allegedly with links to China, with a view to “promote pro-China content on their website”.
Taking to X (formerly Twitter), the Press Club of India (PCI) said, “It is deeply concerned about raids on the houses of journalists and writers associated with NewsClick. We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement”.
The PCI further said it stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands the government to come out with details.