New Delhi: Delhi Police’s Special Cell Tuesday morning conducted raids at 30 premises connected with online portal NewsClick as well as its journalists’ houses, triggering outrage against the action among scribes.
The Enforcement Directorate had earlier conducted raids at the firm’s premises probing its sources of funding. The Special Cell is now raiding the media firm on the basis of inputs provided by the central agency.
The Special Cell has registered a new case and started an investigation, officials said.
Officials in the know said police have recovered the dump data from laptops and mobile phones of some journalists of NewsClick.
Some journalists, including Urmilesh and Abhishar Sharma, have been brought to the Lodhi Road Special Cell office, but no one has been arrested so far, they said.
A team of Delhi Police’s Special Cell took journalist Abhisar Sharma with it after questioning him at his home in Noida Extension.
Before being detained, journalist Abhisar Sharma wrote on X, “Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and phone.”
Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and Phone…
— Abhisar Sharma (@abhisar_sharma) October 3, 2023
The team seized gadgets like mobile phones and laptop of the journalist from his home in the morning.
Another journalist, Bhasha Singh, wrote on X, “Finally last tweet from this phone. Delhi police seizure (sic) my phone.”
Finally last tweet from this phone. Delhi police seizure my phone.
— bhasha singh (@Bhashak) October 3, 2023
Responding to a question regarding the raids, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said probe agencies in the country are independent and work as per law.
“I need not justify the raid. If someone has done something wrong, probe agencies work on it… Nowhere is it written that if you have got money through illegal manner or done something objectionable, then probe agencies cannot investigate that,” Thakur said.
The Press Club of India on X said that it is deeply concerned about raids on the houses of journalists and writers associated with NewsClick.
The Press Club of India is deeply concerned about the multiple raids conducted on the houses of journalists and writers associated with #Newsclick.
We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement.
— Press Club of India (@PCITweets) October 3, 2023
“The Press Club of India is deeply concerned about the multiple raids conducted on the houses of journalists and writers associated with #Newsclick. We are monitoring the developments and will be releasing a detailed statement.
“The PCI stands in solidarity with the journalists and demands the government to come out with details,” it said.
Delhi Police sources said the raids, still ongoing, are based on a case registered August 17 under UAPA and other sections of IPC.
The case was registered under sections of UAPA, 153A of IPC (promoting enmity between two groups), and 120B of IPC (criminal conspiracy).
In August, the Delhi High Court sought the stand of NewsClick Founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha on a plea by the city police seeking vacation of an earlier order granting him interim protection from arrest in an unlawful foreign funding case.
The website recently hit the headlines for allegedly receiving money from US millionaire Neville Roy Singham for pro-China propaganda in India.
Citing an investigation by The New York Times, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur too recently claimed that the NewsClick’s money trail revealed an “anti-India agenda.”