Bail Plea of Prabir Purkayastha

SC Adjourns Bail Plea of NewsClick’s Purkayastha For April 22

Bail Plea of Prabir Purkayastha

The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the medical bail plea of Prabir Purkayastha, Newsclick founder and Editor-in-Chief, lodged in Tihar jail under anti-terror law, for April 22.

A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta adjourned to next Monday the plea of Purkayashta, seeking bail on medical ground, as senior advocate Kapil Sibal representing him was unavailable.

Earlier, the apex court had directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to set up a medical board to examine the health condition of Purkayastha.

It had asked the AIIMS director to constitute the board and submit a report which shall also consider the jail records and complete medical history of the petitioner.

The direction of the apex court came after Sibal told the bench that the report filed by the prison authorities about his client’s medical condition was not correct.

Purkayastha had earlier also approached the Supreme Court challenging his arrest under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) over alleged Chinese funding to promote anti-national propaganda.

He challenged the Delhi High Court’s October 13, 2023, order upholding the trial court order remanding him to police custody. He has since been remanded to judicial custody.

Earlier, NewsClick’s human resources department head, Amit Chakravarty had withdrawn from the Supreme Court his petition against his arrest.

A Delhi court had allowed Chakravarty to turn an approver in the case lodged against the news portal.

Purkayastha and Chakraborty were arrested by the special cell of the Delhi police on October 3 after it searched 30 locations connected with the online news portal and its journalists in a case filed under the UAPA following allegations that it received money for pro-China propaganda.

Purkayastha and Chakravarty subsequently moved the High Court challenging the arrest as well as the seven-day police custody and sought immediate release as an interim relief.

The High Court had rejected their pleas and said it is of the view that “the fact that serious offences affecting stability, integrity, sovereignty and national security have been alleged against the petitioner, this Court is not inclined to pass any favorable orders.”

According to the FIR, a large amount of funding for the news portal allegedly came from China to “disrupt the sovereignty of India” and cause disaffection against the country.

The probe agency also alleged that Purkayastha conspired with a group, the People’s Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS), to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. (ANI)

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