Delhi HC notice to Newsclick, its director on ED plea seeking vacation of order | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Delhi HC notice to Newsclick, its director on ED plea seeking vacation of order

Aug 11, 2023 01:06 PM IST

The bench said that the matter required deliberation and gave six weeks to Newsclick to reply and posted the matter for the next hearing on September 6

The Delhi high court on Friday sought the response of Newsclick on a plea by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) seeking to vacate its 2021 order which granted interim protection from any coercive action against the news portal in connection to an alleged money laundering case.

 (Representative Photo)
(Representative Photo)

The ED had moved the Delhi high court on Thursday seeking to vacate its order.

Justice Saurabh Banerjee issued notice to Newsclick and its founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha on ED’s fresh application saying prima facie “there is merit in the submissions made by the probe agency”.

The Delhi high court had on June 21, 2021, directed the probe agency “not to take coercive action” against the news portal and on July 29, 2021, it had directed “not to take any coercive action against its founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha” in connection with an alleged money laundering case.

Also Read: ‘NewsClick-China links’: In Parl, BJP continues attack on Opposition

The fresh application by ED was filed in a pending plea by Newsclick and Purkayastha in 2021 seeking a copy of the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) registered by the probe agency in September 2020.

ED has sought vacation of two orders passed by a co-ordinate bench on June 21, 2021, and July 20, 2021, respectively.

In its application, ED has contended that additional material has been revealed disclosing the commission of the offence of money laundering as, well as the commission of a scheduled offence which has been intimated to the predicate agency as well, by way of an appropriate communication u/s 66(2) of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act as well.

The bench said that the matter required deliberation and gave six weeks to Newsclick to reply and posted the matter for the next hearing on September 6.

During the hearing, advocate Zoheb Hossain for the ED, told the court that the case deals with a “criminal conspiracy of fake news wherein Rs.38 crore have been received in violation of laws”.

The court recorded his submissions that ED has unearthed additional material which “reveals” the commission of money laundering offences and other scheduled offences by NewsClick.

The counsel appearing for the news portal told the court that there is no urgency in the matter as it has been pending for two years and that till now the ED had been seeking adjournments in the case.

Also Read: ‘NewsClick expose tip of iceberg; Jairam Ramesh, Rahul Gandhi...’: Jethmalani

The money laundering case arises out of a first information report filed by the Delhi police alleging that PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Rs.9.59 crore from Worldwide Media Holdings LLC USA during the financial year 2018-19.

This week, a New York Times report claimed that the news portal was part of a global network that received funding from American billionaire Neville Roy Singham, who allegedly works closely with the Chinese government media machine.

NewsClick issued a statement on Monday saying the allegations made against it “by certain political actors and sections of the media are unfounded and without basis in fact or law”.

Ed has in September 2021 raided the premises of NewsClick and Purkayastha. Last year, the agency attached a flat, worth Rs.4.52 crore, located in south Delhi’s Saket area linked to Purkayastha apart from fixed deposits worth Rs.41 lakh as part of this investigation.

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