New Delhi, Oct 3 (IANS): After hours of questioning by the Delhi Police’s Special Cell, journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta on Tuesday said that nine policemen came to his house in morning and he came to know about the FIR apparently under the stringent Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
While leaving from the office of the Special Cell here in south Delhi’s Lodhi road area, Thakurta said: “I hold an accreditation card from Press Information Bureau, Government of India. Nine police personnel came to my home in Gurugram at 6:30 a.m. in the morning. They asked me various questions. I came with them voluntarily to the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on Lodhi Road.”
He said that they asked him same set of questions over and over again, they asked me if I am an employee of Newsclick, I said 'No, I'm a consultant'.
“They asked me how much I am paid, I told them. They asked me all the kinds of questions, if I covered Delhi riots, I said no. They asked if I covered farmers agitation, I said yes. Why are you consultant with NewsClick, I said I am a journalist. How long have you been a consultant with them. I said since May 2018. They asked me all kinds of questions,” he said.
When asked about if he knew the sections under which the case has been registered, Thakurta said: “After I came here I learnt that an FIR has been lodged apparently under the Unlawful Activities Preventions Act and I have been here for roughly here since 8.30 a.m. and I am leaving around 6.30 p.m.”
The Special Cell on Tuesday carried out searches at over 30 locations in the national capital including the premises of the NewsClick and journalists associated with it including him.
During the questioning at Special Cell police station in Lodhi Colony, the police presented them with a list of 25 inquiries encompassing various topics, such as their international trips, involvement in protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act at Delhi's Shaheen Bagh, and participation in the farmers' agitation, as per sources.
Notably, no arrests have been made during the ongoing searches primarily focused on the Delhi-NCR region.
Meanwhile, the Special Cell officers brought Prabir Purkayastha, the founder and editor-in-chief of NewsClick to its office in south Delhi in the presence of a forensic team and they sealed the its office.
Sources indicate that the searches at various locations connected to NewsClick were conducted based on a case registered on August 17 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and other sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including Section 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and Section 120B (criminal conspiracy).
A source told IANS that section 16 (Terrorist Act), section 17 (raising funds for terrorist acts), section 18 (Conspiracy) and section 22 C (Offences by Companies) of the UAPA have been invoked in the FIR.
The opposition parties on Tuesday slammed the government for the police action against the journalists and alleged it of suppressing the voice of the media.