NewsClick raids: Over 200 Delhi Police personnel attended 2am meeting before crackdown, claims report

Oct 03, 2023 03:33 PM IST

NewsClick Raids: Delhi Police special cell carried out raids at over 30 locations, the report said, adding that suspects were marked in A, B, and C categories.

Hours before the Delhi Police conducted raids on the premises of online portal NewsClick and several journalists associated with the organisation, the first meeting by the officials of the special cell was held on Monday mid-night. The meeting was attended by more than 200 police personnel at 2am at the special cell office in Lodhi Colony, news agency ANI reported citing sources.

Delhi Police brings senior journalist Pranjoy Guha Thakurata to the Lodhi Road Special Cell office in New Delhi on Tuesday, (PTI)
Delhi Police brings senior journalist Pranjoy Guha Thakurata to the Lodhi Road Special Cell office in New Delhi on Tuesday, (PTI)

Apart from senior officials, the mobile handsets of junior officials were kept at the station, to hide any leaked information, the report claimed. The Delhi Police special cell carried out raids at more than 30 locations, the report said, adding that suspects were marked in the A, B, and C categories.

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The raids were conducted on a case registered on August 17 under UAPA and other sections of IPC, which include UAPA, 153A of IPC (promoting enmity between two groups), and 120 B of IPC (criminal conspiracy).

Meanwhile, in Mumbai, teams of the Delhi Police special cell and Mumbai Police carried out searches at the residence of activist Teesta Setalvad, the report added.

On Tuesday morning, the cops also reached Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury's residence to question his staffer Sri Narayan's son Sunmit Kumar. The raid team seized the mobile, laptop, and hard drive of Sunmit Kumar, who works at NewsClick, the report claimed.

Some journalists, including Urmilesh and Abhishar Sharma, were taken to the Lodhi Road special cell office but no one has been arrested so far in the searches concentrated in the Delhi-NCR region, officials told news agency PTI. Founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha was taken to the NewsClick south Delhi office.

Addressing a gathering in Bhubaneswar, Union information and broadcasting minister Anurag Thakur said probe agencies in the country are independent and work in accordance with law.

“... If someone has done something wrong, probe agencies work on it... Nowhere is it written that if you have got money through illegal manner or done something objectionable, then probe agencies cannot investigate that,” Thakur said.

The Congress and the Samajwadi Party as well as the Press Club of India also reacted to the searches and criticised the government for the action.

The Enforcement Directorate had earlier conducted raids at the firm's premises to probe its sources of funding. The special cell is now continuing the searches on the basis of inputs provided by the central agency, officials said.

Officials in the know said police recovered dump data from laptops and mobile phones of some NewsClick journalists.

A team took Abhisar Sharma with it after questioning him at his home in Noida Extension. The team seized gadgets like mobile phones and a laptop of the journalist landing at his home in the morning.

Delhi Police sources said the raids, which started early Tuesday morning, are based on a case registered in August under UAPA and other sections of IPC, including Section 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), 120B (criminal conspiracy).

Before he was detained, Abhisar Sharma wrote on X, "Delhi police landed at my home. Taking away my laptop and phone."

Another journalist, Bhasha Singh, wrote on X, "Finally last tweet from this phone. Delhi police seizure (sic) my phone."

Among those raided were historian Sohail Hashmi it is learnt.

(With inputs from ANI, PTI)

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