20-25 Questions, List Of Phones, Laptops To Seize: Inside NewsClick Raids

20-25 Questions, List Of Phones, Laptops To Seize: Inside NewsClick Raids
20-25 Questions, List Of Phones, Laptops To Seize: Inside NewsClick Raids

NewsClick has been accused of receiving nearly Rs 38 crore from entities with alleged Chinese links, and the money was allegedly used for salaries of eight journalists now under investigation.

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Sources told IndiNews this morning that NewsClick and at least ten journalists associated with the news website face charges relating to criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity under five sections of the UAPA anti-terror law. Delhi Police raided 24 locations in the city earlier today based on information from the Enforcement Directorate. Five journalists were taken for further questioning after electronic devices such as mobile phones and laptops were seized.

The police have matched IMEI numbers on a list of devices with those found during raids on NewsClick and journalists, according to sources. Also on the police’s list were protests in Delhi’s Shaheeh Bagh against the citizenship law and farm protests against Modi’s “black” farm laws.

Travel to the northeastern states and stories from there were also discussed with the journalists.

Inside Police’s Raids On NewsClick

The meeting began at 2AM on Tuesday at Delhi Police’s Lodhi Colony head office, where the Special Cell is based.  The event was attended by 200 police officers, whose mobile phones were temporarily confiscated to ensure secrecy.

The Enforcement Directorate believes activist Teesta Setalvad is linked to the NewsClick case and Mumbai Police raided her home.

Also, a raid was conducted at the residence of Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury to question his son. Sources said that Sunmit Kumar, the son of the victim, works at NewsClick, and that his phone and laptop were seized.

What Are Sections Invoked By Delhi Police?

There are five sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and two sections of the Indian Penal Code that are cited in the Delhi Police’s case against NewsClick and its journalists. So far, no further details have been revealed about the police case.

IPC sections

153A: Promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc.

120B: Punishment for criminal conspiracy

UAPA sections

Sec 13: Punishment for terrorist act

Sec 16: Terrorist Act

Sec 17: Raising funds for terrorist acts

Sec 18: Conspiracy

Sec 22C: Offences by Companies

What Is This NewsClick Case?

NewsClick received nearly Rs 38 crore from entities allegedly linked to China, according to the Enforcement Directorate. Eight journalists were allegedly paid with this money. Today, the agency examined these journalists.

NewsClick is also accused of allegedly fabricating evidence in the 2002 Godhra riots case through ‘transactions’ with Teesta Setalvad.

Finally, sources said the agency believes NewsClick promoters funded the legal expenses of activist Gautam Navlakha, accused of provoking the Bhima-Koregaon violence in 2017 with inflammatory speeches in Pune.

There have been or are currently raids on at least ten journalists connected to NewsClick.

The Delhi Police’s Special Cell has been contacted by five of these suspects, and their statements are being recorded. According to police, no arrests have been made so far.

Government “Doesn’t Need To Justify”

Media inquiries on this subject have been dismissed by union minister Anurag Thakur, who told reporters in Odisha, “If anyone has committed any wrongdoing, search agencies can investigate under set guidelines.”

As a result of these raids, activists and the opposition have slammed them as “crackdowns on press freedom”.

NewsClick And The NYT Story

It was reported in August that American millionaire Neville Roy Singham’s global network funds NewsClick.

In 2021, Delhi Police’s Economic Offences Wing investigated the site and its sources of funding; today’s Enforcement Directorate raids are related to this investigation. The Income Tax Department also searched NewsClick offices in 2021.

Prabir Purkayastha, NewsClick’s senior editor, called efforts to stifle independent journalism “attempts to stifle the press”.

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