Purkayastha infused funds from China to stoke Delhi riots: Chargesheet

NEW DELHI, 2 May: The Delhi Police has told a court here that NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha infused funds from China into India to stoke and sustain the 2020 Delhi riots, carry out disinformation campaign on Covid-19, stoke the farmers’ protest and indulge in outright terror funding in Kashmir.

The police made the allegations in its chargesheet filed before Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur, who took cognisance of it on Tuesday.

The chargesheet alleged that Purkayastha used to give salaries to many employees of activist Teesta Setalvad. It said that the role of another activist, Gautam Navlakha, in the present case is under probe.

The final report alleged that Navlakha has been a shareholder of the NewsClick and his role has also emerged in the testimonies of the protected witnesses as being one of the conduits for the finance and supplies of arms and ammunition for a banned Naxal outfit.

The chargesheet cited the statement made by NewsClick human resource (HR) head and accused-turned-approver, Amit Chakravarty, claiming that Purkayastha used to give salaries to many employees of Setalvad “as FCRA of Teesta got stopped due to some litigation.”

“Teesta was funded with the directions that she would spend the money to spread communal agenda and disharmony in society through her NGO Sabrang, her husband and others. Payments were made to her husband, daughter, son, and other staff members,” the statement said.

The statement claimed that Purkayastha used to receive illegal funds from different companies owned by Neville Roy Singham, a US national of Sri Lankan descent, who, “for the last one decade at least, has been vigorously peddling the Maoist thought, apparently at the behest of his paymasters who, at this stage, by way of deduction, can be referred to as being either China-sponsored or a part of the Chinese deep state. Several protected witnesses have categorically deposed to this effect also.”

It alleged that, out of the funds received from Singham, Purkayastha gave Rs 36 lakhs to a person with the direction to give it further to Sharjeel Imam for inciting the Delhi riots of 2020.

“Some amount from the funds was also given to SFI activist Anusha Paul and Pawan Kulkarni to instigate protestors and create violence during CAA NRC protests,” it alleged.

In the meantime, Covid spread and Singham directed Purkayastha to start a campaign by writing articles, so that the people avoid taking “Indian vaccine.”

“Consequently, many people will die, discontent against the government will grow, and a situation of civil war may arise,” it alleged.

“Thereafter, the farmer agitation started and Purkayastha also provided funds to support the farmers’ agitation, so that roads get blocked by farmers and essential service could be disrupted which would results in violence and anarchy in Delhi NCR,” the chargesheet added.

It further added that Purkayastha also formed a “Kashmir cell,” headed by his son, Pratik Purkayastha, to create revolt in Kashmir. Illegal foreign funds were also being given in small amounts to the antinational elements after the abrogation of Article 370.

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

The court had in January allowed Chakravarty to turn approver in the case. The judge had pardoned Chakravarty, arrested in the case, on his application that claimed he had material information which he was willing to disclose to Delhi Police, which is investigating the matter.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had arrested Chakravarty and Purkayastha on 3 October last year. They are currently in judicial custody.

According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal allegedly 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 – 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 3 October against 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. (PTI)