Delhi Minister Raaj Kumar Anand, who underwent more than 20 hours of questioning by the Enforcement Directorate, criticized the central government for the agency's actions, asserting that the raid is merely a pretext to harass individuals.
Embattled digital media outlet NewsClick termed the Delhi Police raids conducted on its offices as a “blatant attempt” at preventing the outlet from continuing its reporting and rejected charges of carrying Chinese propaganda, on Wednesday. It also claimed that no information about the FIR or the exact particulars of the offences with which it has been charged were given to the media outlet.
In a statement, NewsClick said: “On October 3, 2023, raids were carried out by the special cell of Delhi Police at various locations, including Newsclick’s offices, residences of journalists and employees associated with Newsclick. Several persons were questioned, and as of now, our director Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakraborty have been arrested.”
“We have not been provided with a copy of the FIR, nor were informed about the exact particulars of the offences with which we have been charged. Electronic devices were seized from the Newsclick premises and homes of employees without any adherence to due process, such as the provision of seizure memos, hash values of the seized data, or even copies of the data,” it said.
“Newsclick’s office has also been sealed in a blatant attempt at preventing us from continuing our reporting,” it added.
Rejecting charges of carrying Chinese propaganda on its platforms, NewsClick said: “A government that has not been able to substantiate any charges against NewsClick despite being in possession of all its information, documentation, and communications needed a motivated and bogus article published in the New York Times to invoke the draconian UAPA and attempt to shut down and stifle independent and fearless voices that portray the story of the real India – of peasants, labourers, farmers, and other often-ignored sections of society.”
It added: “We want to state for the record that Newsclick does not publish any news or information at the behest of any Chinese entity or authority, directly or indirectly.” The outlet also asserted that the city police has not referred to a single article or video that it considers to be Chinese propaganda.
“Indeed, the line of questioning adopted by the special cell of Delhi Police regarding reportage on the Delhi riots, farmers protests, all demonstrate the motivated and malicious intent behind the present proceedings,” it added.
It may be noted that on Tuesday, the Delhi Police’s special cell carried out raids at various premises connected with NewsClick and journalists associated with it. A total of 37 people were taken in for questioning and their electronic gadgets, including laptops and mobile phones, were screened.
Later, on Tuesday night, the Delhi Police said it had arrested journalists Prabir Purkayastha and Amit Chakravarty in connection with a UAPA case filed with the special cell.