A Delhi court on Thursday allowed the applications of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakravarty, arrested in a case lodged under anti-terror law UAPA over allegations that the news portal received money to spread pro-China propaganda, seeking a copy of the FIR.
Additional Sessions Judge Hardeep Kaur directed the city police to provide the duo a copy of the FIR. A detailed order is awaited.
During the proceedings, the counsel for Chakravarty also sought in writing the grounds for his arrest, asserting that it was a constitutional safeguard for the accused.
The advocate cited some judgments of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court to claim that though the offences alleged against his client under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) were “serious”, there were no statutory grounds for the prosecution to deny him a copy of the FIR.
Purkayastha’s advocate, appearing through video-conferencing, argued it was the accused’s right to get a copy of the FIR. Special Public Prosecutor Atul Shrivastava opposed the applications. He cited a Supreme Court judgment to say an accused has to first approach the police commissioner, who would then form a committee to consider the request.
He said the accused have to follow the “step-by-step procedure” prescribed by the apex court. The application filed by the accused were “premature” and they cannot “directly jump before the court”, Shrivastava added.
“We have already provided the grounds for arrest and the reasons for further remand. We have already complied with the provisions,” he said.
Citing the remand paper, the SPP said the accused undermined the unity and territorial integrity of the country, besides engaging in a discussion regarding a map of India without Kashmir and showing Arunachal Pradesh as a disputed area. They received Rs 115 crore in the guise of foreign funding, he said.
“We had duly informed this court (the grounds for arrest) when we sought police custody and the accused were allowed to talk to their family members and advocate,” he said.
Purkayastha and Chakravarty were arrested by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Tuesday. Police have sealed NewsClick’s office in Delhi.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by String Reveals staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)