Delhi HC reserves order on NewsClick HR Amit Chakraborty’s bail plea in UAPA case

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on the bail plea moved by NewsClick Human Resources head Amit Chakraborty who became an approver in the case lodged against the news portal under anti-terror law UAPA over allegations that it received money to spread pro-China propaganda.

Justice Swarana Kanta Sharma reserved the order on the bail application after following the submission of the state that it has no objection over granting bail to the accused-turned-approver in the case.

Chakravarty’s lawyer said that he has been granted a pardon in the case by the trial court and was also cooperating in the probe. “I have been in custody since October 3, 2023, and still the matter is at the stage of investigation. No chargesheet is filed,” the lawyer told the court quoting Chakravarty.

Special Judge Hardeep Kaur had last month allowed Chakravarty to turn an approver and pardoned him.

The Delhi Police arrested NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and Chakraborty on October 3 and remanded to seven days of police custody on October 4.

According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal came from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country.

It also alleged that Purkayastha conspired with a group — People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) — to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Raids were conducted at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on October 3 last year on the suspects named in the FIR and those that surfaced in the analysis of data, police said.

Around 300 electronic gadgets were also seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were examined.

Following the raids, 46 individuals, including nine female journalists, were questioned by the Special Cell.

In a previous hearing, Purkayastha’s counsel had vehemently opposed the Delhi Police’s charges, asking how his client as a journalist doing a critical or impartial act of journalism about the government can become any of the unlawful activities.