New Delhi: News portal Newsclick, whose office was raided for over 36 hours by the Enforcement Directorate earlier this week, issued a statement condemning “selective leak of misleading facts”, calling these leaks an attempt to “smear” the website and its journalists.
The statement comes as some media outlets ran stories based on a briefing by a senior Enforcement Directorate official claiming that the Central agency was looking at “foreign remittances” that Newsclick received. Earlier, the ED had claimed its raids on the independent Delhi-based media organisation were linked to an alleged money laundering case.
Newsclick said that as of Friday afternoon, the ED is continuing its raid at the house of Newsclick’s editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha. Prabir and author Githa Hariharan have been “detained in their house since the beginning of the raid”. The raid at their residence has lasted over 80 hours and was still ongoing at the time of writing.
The statement also said that during the 36-hour raid at Newsclick‘s office, some equipment “vital to its functioning as a news organisation” was seized.
“Communication devices of directors and senior management have also been seized, which has, therefore, limited their ability to return to work or indeed, respond to queries of the media. Despite this harassment, Newsclick has cooperated fully with the authorities, and will continue to do so. We have nothing to hide, as we have operated completely in accordance with the law,” the statement adds.
In this context, the organisation described the “selective leak of misleading facts” by senior officials of the ED as a “malicious” smear attempt. The leak also constitutes a “violation of the sanctity of the legal and investigative process”, the statement said.
The website reiterated its belief that these raids are “part of a trend of deploying government agencies against those who refuse to toe the establishment’s line”.
“We are deeply thankful for all the solidarity that we have received, and would like to convey to our well-wishers that we will resist all attempts at intimidation and continue our independent journalism,” the statement said.
The ED’s raid was condemned by a number of press bodies and civil society organisations in India and abroad. The Press Club of India (PCI) described the raids as an “unsavoury attack on the media in a bid to intimidate and silence critical journalism”.