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NewsClick HR head moves court to become government witness

Amit Chakravarty, the human resources department head of NewsClick, has moved a Delhi court seeking its permission to become a government witness in a case lodged under anti-terror law.

NewsClick HR head moves court to become government witness gcw
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First Published Dec 25, 2023, 1:15 PM IST

The human resources chief, Amit Chakravarty, of NewsClick, a news website under investigation for possible connections to China-linked organisations receiving financing for Chinese propaganda dissemination, has submitted an application to be considered as a government witness under the anti-terror statute UAPA.

On Saturday, December 23, Chakravarty filed the plea before Special Judge Hardeep Kaur. He asked for a pardon in the case and said he had important information that he would be willing to share with the Delhi Police, who is looking into the incident.

This development comes after Delhi Police was given a 60-day extension of judicial custody by the Patiala House Court in New Delhi to finish their investigation into the charges against Chakravarty and the news portal's founder, Prabir Purkayastha.

Chakravarty and NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha were arrested by the Delhi Police on October 1 after it conducted raids at the homes of several journalists and employees linked to the online portal in connection with the UAPA case.

Meanwhile, the firm's premises were searched by the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has also filed a complaint under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).

The case broke after The New York Times reported NewsClick received crores from organisations linked to Neville Roy Singham, an American millionaire reportedly linked to Chinese state-run media. These payments, according to the Delhi Police investigation, were "routed from China in a circuitous and camouflaged manner and paid news were intentionally... criticising domestic policies, development projects..." It also alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group -- People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) -- to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

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. NewsClick and Purkayastha have denied all charges.

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