NEW DELHI: The Central Bureau of Investigation, which registered an FIR against NewsClick on October 7, has accused the news portal of receiving ‘unexplained export remittance’ from foreign entities, which is an alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.
The FIR was lodged under section 35 of the FCRA, read with sections 3 (1)(g) and 3 (1) (h) of the same Act. The FIR mentions five accused – M/s PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt. Ltd as accused no 1 followed by Prabir Purkayastha, Neville Roy Singham, Jason Pfetcher and other unknown people as accused no 5.
According to the FIR, the CBI registered the case against the portal after it received a communication in this regard from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in August this year. “A communication in August 2023 has been received from an Under Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, Delhi, regarding violation of various provisions of FCRA, 2010, by Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd, Delhi and its directors and others,” the FIR read.
As per the FIR, the main allegation is that NewsClick received an ‘unexplained export remittance’ of Rs 28.46 crores from four foreign entities. “Further, Worldwide Media Holding LLC, USA funded Rs. 9.59 crores through FDI into PPK Newsclick in contravention of provisions of FCRA Act, 2010. The complaint discloses the gross violations of the provisions of the FCRA Act, 2010 by Prabir Purkayastha along with his close associates namely Jason Pfetcher, and Neville Roy Singham to infuse opaque foreign funds in PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt. Ltd,” an excerpt from the FIR read.
According to the FIR, the complaint received by CBI from the MHA alleged that the provisions of FCRA, which prohibit acceptance of foreign contributions by a company engaged in the production and broadcast of audio-visual news through any electronic mode and by any writer or owner, have been violated.
HC order on Prabir plea today
The Delhi High Court will pronounce its order on Friday on the pleas by NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and the head of the HR department Amit Chakravarty challenging their arrest in a case lodged under the UAPA for allegedly receiving money for pro-China propaganda