NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha Granted Bail After SC Declares Arrest Illegal

Hours after the Supreme Court declared the arrest of NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha illegal, the Patiala House Court granted him bail. Prabir Purkayastha was accused of receiving funds for promoting pro-China propaganda.
Prabir Purkayastha

Prabir Purkayastha

Hours after the Supreme Court declared the arrest of NewsClick Founder Prabir Purkayastha illegal, the Patiala House Court granted him bail. Prabir Purkayastha was accused of receiving funds for promoting pro-China propaganda.
The Patiala House Court imposed three conditions: Purkayastha must not communicate with witnesses or approvers, refrain from discussing the case's merits, and seek the court permission before traveling abroad.
Additionally, he has to furnish a bail bond worth Rs 1 lakh for his release.
While declaring the arrest as illegal, Supreme Court had stated, "Though we would have been persuaded to direct the release of the appellant without requiring him to furnish bonds or security but since the charge sheet has been filed, we feel it appropriate to direct that the appellant shall be released from custody on furnishing bail and bonds to the satisfaction of the trial Court."
A bench of Justices BR Gavai and Sandeep Mehta said that the remand application was not provided to the appellant or his counsel before passing the remand order, and this vitiated the arrest and the remand.
The Supreme Court had reserved its judgment on April 30 after it questioned the Delhi Police for its "hot haste" in producing Prabir Purkayastha before the Magistrate after his arrest without informing his lawyer. The Court also said it was surprised at the fact that the remand order was passed before the remand application was served to his lawyer.
"Why didn’t you inform his lawyer in advance? You arrested him the previous day. You had an entire day to inform him (lawyer). What was the hot haste to produce him at 6 am," the bench added.
The remarks came after senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Purkayastha, argued before the court that his client was not provided with "grounds of arrest".
Purkayastha was arrested last year by the Delhi Police under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, following allegations that the news portal received a large sum of money for promoting pro-China propaganda.
In its 8,000-page chargesheet, the Delhi Police had accused Purkayastha of tinkering with the maps of India and China, and also of being part of terrorist activities and conspiring with American businessman and social activist Neville Roy Singham.
"Prabir Purkayastha in furtherance of common conspiracy with Neville Roy Singham and others during the Covid-19 time had criticized noble efforts of Indian Government to control Covid-19 and also published his articles against the vaccine manufactured by the Indian pharmaceutical's companies with the intention of causing disaffection against India," the chargesheet said.
The Delhi Police also accused Prabir Purkayastha of disbursing cash to rioters involved in the protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
"In the garb of protesting against CAA/NRC, Prabir Purkayastha was not only involved in malicious disinformation campaign using his PPK NewsClick, but had actually been utilizing his employees/partners for the purpose of disbursing cash to the rioters, some of whom have already been arrested in a separate UAPA case and are presently running in judicial custody."
End of Article
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