This raid by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell took place on Tuesday as part of an alleged investigation into foreign funding related to the news portal, NewsClick. A police officer confirmed the raids but refused to comment on whether this action is part of an ongoing investigation by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) or if the Special Cell initiated a new case.
“The raids were related to NewsClick, but we have not made any arrests. We are conducting searches and questioning some individuals,” said the officer, adding that more raids were underway. He also mentioned that there might be a detailed briefing for the press later today.
Abhisar Sharma, one of the journalists, posted on the social media platform X, saying, “Delhi Police have entered my house. They are confiscating my laptop and phone…”
In August, the ED had seized a flat in Saket, New Delhi, allegedly linked to Prabir Purkayastha, the Chief Editor of NewsClick, in connection with a money laundering investigation against the news portal. The federal agency had also conducted searches at Purkayastha’s premises in September 2021.
These raids occurred during the same week when The New York Times claimed that NewsClick was part of a global network funded by American billionaire Neville Roy Singh, who allegedly collaborates with the Chinese government’s media machinery.
NewsClick released a statement saying that the allegations against them are baseless, with no evidence to support claims of wrongdoing.
The ED is currently investigating the receipt of over ₹86 crore in alleged “suspicious” foreign funds by the company running the NewsClick portal. According to the ED, the company had claimed to receive funds from Justice and Education Fund Inc. USA, The TriContinental Ltd. USA, GSPANN LLC USA, and Centro Popular from ₹76.84 crore, ₹1.61 crore, ₹26.98 lakhs, and ₹2.03 lakhs in “export proceeds” from Brazil, from March 2018 to the raids in 2021. Officials stated that there is no evidence of services being exported to these entities.
ED Worldwide Media Holdings LLC, USA, had also been monitoring the transfer of direct foreign investment (FDI) of ₹9.59 crore via membership shares from PPK NewsClick Studio Private Limited to a company called Delaware Limited Liability (DLR) in April 2018. Authorities mentioned that the company ceased operations immediately after this FDI transfer.
ED has raised suspicions that the money sent through Justice and Education Fund Inc. USA belonged to Neville Roy Singh. The agency alleges that Singh is a “close associate” of Purkayastha and had been instrumental in channelling funds for “uploading anti-national news at his behest” through FDI and transfer of export earnings.
It is alleged that Singh influenced the content of news on the portal, making it a case of “paid news.” The agency also found financial irregularities in the maintenance and renovation of a flat in Saket, reportedly linked to Purkayastha.
ED had earlier seized a ₹41 lakh deposit belonging to Purkayastha’s company. It was also alleged that apart from some journalists, Gautam Navlakha, a jailed activist, received a payment of ₹17.08 lakh as wages from the company.
According to NewsClick’s website, it is an independent media organization dedicated to covering progressive movements and news from India and other parts of the world. It was founded in 2009.
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