NewsClick row: Founder Purkayastha, HR head Chakravarty move SC against arrest in UAPA case

NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and its HR head Amit Chakravarty on Monday moved the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court’s refusal to interfere with their arrest and police remand in a case lodged under the anti-terror law UAPA.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra took note of the submissions of senior lawyer Kapil Sibal, appearing for Purkayastha and Chakravarty, that the matter needed urgent hearing and asked him to circulate the case papers.

“This is the NewsClick matter. The journalists are in police custody. Here one of the accused is a 75-year old man,” Sibal said.

The CJI said he will take a call on the listing.

On October 13, a Delhi High Court bench dismissed the plea against the arrest and subsequent police remand of Purkayastha and Chakravarty in the case. Both were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on October 3.

They subsequently moved the high court challenging the arrest as well as the seven-day police custody and sought immediate release as interim relief.

On October 10, the trial court sent them to judicial custody for 10 days.

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A case has been lodged against the two under anti-terror law Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) for allegedly receiving money to spread pro-China propaganda.

According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal allegedly came from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country.

It also alleged that Purkayastha conspired 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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