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NewsClick case: Eight questioned by Delhi Police for a second time

The Delhi Police’s Special Cell on Friday questioned at least eight journalists and contributors to the NewsClick for a second time in a week in connection with its case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act over alleged funding from China, sources said.

They were called to the Special Cell office in the afternoon and questioned till late evening, a Delhi Police source said.

The Special Cell arrested NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and human resources department head Amit Chakravarty on Tuesday evening, after a total of 46 journalists and contributors to the online news portal were questioned and their mobile phones and other electronic gadgets seized through the day.

After the first round of questioning on Tuesday, the investigators had asked them to appear for a second time. ‘The investigators are questioning eight to 10 persons who are connected with the case daily,’ the police source said.

On Thursday, it questioned journalists Urmilesh and Abhisar Sharma and some others for a second time.

On Friday, senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who was among those questioned on Tuesday, was also called for questioning for a second time.

Guha Thakurta told PTI over phone that he could not appear before the Special Cell as he was out of the city. ‘Now the Special Cell has told me to come on October 10 or 11,’ he said.

Reacting to the FIR which carries his name among the accused, Guha Thakurta said, ‘I find these allegations far-fetched and ludicrous. My name is mentioned in the FIR as I also got the money but my bank account can be checked by Income Tax (department) or any agency. How being critical of the government become anti-national? I am a proud Indian.’ The Delhi Police, in its FIR filed under anti-terror law UAPA against online news portal NewsClick, has alleged that a large amount of funds came from China to ‘disrupt the sovereignty of India’ and cause disaffection against the country.

Police sources also said that a team of the Special Cell was sent for questioning activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in this case. However, Navlakha, who is under house arrest in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist link case in Mumbai, could not be questioned, they said.

(Published 07 October 2023, 00:32 IST)

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