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regular-article-logo Monday, 04 March 2024

Delhi court asks police to hand FIR copy to NewsClick founder, HR head

During proceedings before additional sessions judge Hardeep Kaur, the Delhi police had opposed the demand from both accused for a copy of the FIR

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 06.10.23, 06:06 AM
Prabir Purkayastha.

Prabir Purkayastha. File Photo

A Delhi court on Thursday directed police to provide NewsClick founder and editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and the news portal’s HR head Amit Chakraborty with a copy each of the FIR that led to their arrest.

During proceedings before additional sessions judge Hardeep Kaur, the Delhi police had opposed the demand from both accused for a copy of the FIR.

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The Delhi police’s special cell had on Tuesday raided NewsClick and several associated journalists, and arrested Purkayastha and Chakraborty, in a terror case that alleges the portal received Chinese funds and ran an “anti-India agenda”.

During the court proceedings, counsel representing Chakraborty cited certain Supreme Court and Delhi High Court judgments to argue that while the offences alleged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act were “serious”, there were no statutory grounds for the prosecution to deny the accused a copy of the FIR.

Opposing Chakraborty’s plea, special public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava cited a Supreme Court judgment and said an accused had to first approach the police commissioner, who would then form a committee to consider the request.

Shrivastava said the accused needed to follow the “step-by-step procedure” prescribed by the apex court. He argued that the applications filed by the accused were “premature” and that they could not “directly jump before the court”.

“We have already provided the grounds for arrest and the reasons for further remand. We have already complied with the provisions,” he said.

Referring to the police’s opposition to Chakraborty’s plea for a copy of the FIR, Supreme Court lawyer and activist Prashant Bhushan wrote on X: “Astounding! People will not even be shown a copy of the FIR on the basis of which they are arrested! Any rule of law left in Modi Raj? This is getting worse than the emergency of 1977.”

The police have sealed NewsClick’s office in Delhi.

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