Newsclick row Delhi HC agrees to hear plea against arrest of Prabir Purkayastha, Amit Chakravarty

The Delhi High Court on Friday agreed to hear during the day a plea against the arrest of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and human resources department head Amit Chakravarty in a case lodged under anti-terror law UAPA.

The matter was mentioned for urgent hearing by senior advocate Kapil Sibal before a bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma.

“This is the Newsclick matter. Arrest has been made illegally and in violation of the Supreme Court decisions,” the senior lawyer submitted as he urged the bench to list the matter for hearing today itself.

“Alright,” responded the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula.

Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Tuesday. Police have sealed the NewsClick’s office in Delhi. The portal has been accused of receiving money to spread pro-China propaganda.

Their petitions before the high court have assailed their arrest, the subsequent 7-day police remand as well as the Delhi Police FIR.

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On Thursday, a trial court here had directed the city police to provide the duo with a copy of the FIR, citing a 2016 order of the Supreme Court and a 2010 order of the Delhi High Court.

A raid was conducted on Tuesday at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on the suspects named in the FIR and surfaced in the analysis of data, the police said.

A total of 46 journalists and contributors to the NewsClick were questioned on Tuesday and their mobile phones and other electronic gadgets were seized.

Prominent journalists’ bodies, including the Indian Women’s Press Corps (IWPC), PCI and Digipub News India Foundation, have sought the intervention of Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud in the matter.

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