CBI Investigates NewsClick : Office and Editor’s Home Searched
New Delhi : On Wednesday, October 11, a group of around eight officers from the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Economic Offences Wing carried out a search at both the NewsClick office and the home of its editor, Prabir Purkayastha, located in Delhi. During this operation, they conducted inquiries with Githa Hariharan, a well-known author and partner of Prabir Purkayastha, at his residence until approximately 1 pm. The search at the NewsClick office continued for an extended period.
Prabir Purkayastha is currently in judicial custody as part of an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case filed by the Delhi Police, alongside NewClick’s human resources head, Amit Chakraborty.
The case against NewsClick involves allegations of receiving funding from China and disseminating Chinese propaganda. It is already under investigation by multiple authorities, including the Delhi Police Special Cell, Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing, Enforcement Directorate, and Income Tax Department.
According to ANI, the CBI is initiating a probe into alleged violations of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
CBI Investigates NewsClick
NewsClick has responded to the investigations, stating, “This is the fifth agency that is investigating us. We are cooperating with the authorities.” The organization has vehemently denied all allegations and asserted in court that it has not received any funds from China. Media rights organizations in India and around the world have criticized these actions, characterizing them as an attack on press freedom and an effort to silence those who challenge the narrative of the Narendra Modi government.
Sources suggest that the involvement of the CBI in an FCRA-related matter may be due to the original charges related to the foreign direct investment (FDI) route for the company, which appeared to lack a clear basis since it involved exchanges between two private parties. Turning it into an FCRA matter under a different agency opens up the possibility of another central agency seeking custody and preventing their release if they are granted bail quickly. This tactic has been observed in several cases where evidence is weak or nonexistent.