New Delhi: A team from the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Economic Offences Wing went to the NewsClick office and house of editor Prabir Purkayastha in Delhi on Wednesday (October 11) morning and conducted a search. The team of about eight was at his residence and questioning his partner, renowned author Githa Hariharan, till around 1 pm. The search at the office continued for longer.
Purkayastha is currently in judicial custody in an Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act case filed by the Delhi Police, along with NewClick human resources head Amit Chakraborty.
The case against NewsClick, involving allegations of taking funding from China and publishing Chinese propaganda, is already being probed by the Delhi Police Special Cell, Delhi Police Economic Offences Wing, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax Department.
ANI reported that the CBI is initiating probe into alleged Foreign Contribution Regulation Act violations.
“This is the fifth agency that is investigating us. We are cooperating with the authorities,” NewsClick said on its X account.
The CBI is currently conducting search and seizure operations at the NewsClick office and the residence of our Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha. This is the fifth agency that is investigating us. We are cooperating with the authorities.#NewsClickRaids #NewsClick…
— NewsClick (@newsclickin) October 11, 2023
NewsClick has firmly denied all accusations and said in court that no money from China has come to the organisation. Media rights bodies from India and across the world have criticised the action against NewsClick as an attack on press freedom and an attempt to silence those who question the Narendra Modi government’s narrative.
Sources say the CBI coming into the picture in an FCRA matter is because the original charges of the FDI route for the company make little sense as the exchange is between two private parties.
Making it an FCRA matter under a different agency also opens up the possibility of getting another central agency to be able to seek custody and prevent release if the two get bail soon. This method has been observed in several matters involving cases where evidence is weak or non-existent.
Hariharan is the author of multiple novels and has won awards for her work, including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. She is also a regular writer and columnist, and the founder of the Indian Cultural Forum.
This is a developing story and will be updated when more information is received.