NewsClick case: Supreme Court terms Purkayastha's arrest illegal, orders release [15.5.2024]

The Supreme Court on Wednesday quashed the arrest of NewsClick editor Prabir Purkayastha, ordering his release in a Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (UAPA) case linked to running alleged Chinese propaganda.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Purkayastha on October 3 last year for allegedly trying to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” by using Chinese funds for his news portal. He is in judicial custody.

"There is no hesitation in the mind of the Court to reach to a conclusion that a copy of the remand application, in the purported exercise of the communication of the grounds of arrest in writing, was not provided to the accused-appellant or his counsel before the passing of the remand order dated 4th October, 2023, which vitiates the arrest and the subsequent remand of the appellant. As a result, the appellant is entitled to a direction for release from custody," said the court.

As the arrest and the remand were declared invalid according to the law, the court ordered Prukayastha’s release. The decision followed after Purkayastha had approached the Court challenging the legality of his arrest.

The development takes place nearly two weeks after a Delhi court took cognisance of the charge sheet Purkayastha on April 30. Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur had said that there was sufficient evidence against the accused in the case.

The judge had fixed May 31 for arguments on framing of charges in the matter.

Raids were conducted on October 3 in the case at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states. Nearly 300 electronic devices were seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were examined. The Special Cell has examined 46 individuals in the probe since the raids.

15 May 2024