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NewsClick received funds from Chinese firms to create false narratives: Delhi police FIR [Read Order]

By LAWSTREET NEWS NETWORK      07 October, 2023 07:40 PM      0 Comments
NewsClick received funds from Chinese firms to create false narratives Delhi police FIR Read Order

The Delhi police have invoked stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act against portal ‘NewsClick’ functionaries as Chinese telecom companies Xiaomi and Vivo have funnelled foreign funds into India to spread “false narratives through paid news".

Police alleged that a large amount of funds came from China to disrupt India’s sovereignty and cause disaffection against the country. The FIR, however, did not disclose the exact amount that has been received by the portal.

It claimed that “since April, 2018… crores of rupees have been received by M/S PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd through illegal means during a short span of five years from M/s Worldwide Media Holdings LLC, USA and others”.

It also claimed that NewsClick founder-editor Prabir Purkayastha and his associates conspired to “peddle a narrative” that Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are “disputed territories” and these “attempts to tinker” with the northern borders amount to an “act intended towards undermining” the unity and territorial integrity of India.

In the FIR, Delhi Police’s Special Cell has made claims that Purkayastha and his associates have used farmers’ protest and Covid-19 pandemic to “cause disaffection against India” by using funds provided by Neville Roy Singham, an investor who is close to the Chinese establishment, as well as trying to sabotage the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

"Such foreign funds have been fraudulently infused by Singham, resident of Shanghai and active member of the Propaganda department of Communist Party of China, through a complex web of several entities,” it stated.

Purkayastha and NewsClick HR head Amit Chakravarty, who was not initially named as an accused in the FIR as an accused registered on August 17, were arrested on October 3 after day-long searches conducted at the premises of 46 journalists, consultants and staffers in Delhi, Gurugram and Noida.

The Police claimed Purkayastha, Gautam Navlakha and Singham, who were initially named in the FIR as accused, allegedly conspired to disrupt supplies and services essential to the life of community and abet damage and destruction of property by “protraction of farmers’ protest” through “illegal foreign funding. Navlakha was arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case.

Navlakha, a shareholder in PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd since its inception in 2018, remained involved in anti-Indian and unlawful activities such as actively supporting banned Naxal organisations and having anti-national nexus with Gulam Nabi Fai, an agent of ISI of Pakistan, it said.

In what is seen as an attempt to raise questions on farmers’ protest that led to the withdrawal of three contentious farm laws, the FIR alleged that Purkayastha and others were inciting disaffection among the people, especially farmers, towards the democratically elected government, to create division and disharmony among people as part of a “larger criminal conspiracy having international ramifications”.

The NewsClick founder was also accused of conspiring with a group -- People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS) -- to “sabotage” the 2019 Lok Sabha elections besides “acting against national interest” by promoting “misleading and false narrative” about Indian pharma industry as well as efforts of Modi government during Covid-19 pandemic.

“In furtherance of this conspiracy to disrupt the sovereignty of India and to cause disaffection against India, a large amount of funds was routed from China in a circuitous and camouflaged manner and paid news were intentionally peddled, criticising domestic policies, development projects of India and promoting, projecting and defending policies and programmes of the Chinese government,” the FIR claims.

It also alleged that People’s Dispatch Portal, maintained by the company running NewsClick, has been used for “intentionally peddling false narratives through paid news in lieu of crores of rupees”.  “It is further learnt that big Chinese telecom companies like Xiaomi, Vivo etc incorporated thousands of shell companies in India in violation of PMLA/FEMA for illegally infusing foreign funds in India,” it said.

The FIR claimed that Purkayastha, Singham, Geeta Hariharan (writer and partner of Purkayastha) and advocate Gautam Bhatia conspired to create a Legal Community Network to campaign for and put up a spirited defence of legal cases against these Chinese companies.

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