In a press conference on Sunday, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said an 'anti-India' conspiracy was at work by news portal Newsclick, citing Chinese funding recieved by the portal. The BJP explicitly detailed out the specifics and said that there were clear attempts to defame India and spread unrest with a motivated agenda that included a foreign hand, which had possible Chinese connection. Calling the entire nexus and plot one that was part of an 'international toolkit', the BJP spokesperson said that Newsclick's activities allegedly received foreign funding. Newsclick is under Enforcement Directorate's radar over Chinese funding linked to the Communist Party of China (CPC).
At the press briefing in Delhi, Patra said, "There is an international conspiracy to defame India. There are pseudo activists and these portals like Newsclick, under the cloak of media along with the international leaders of certain parties try to spread unrest in the country. This is an international toolkit.”
Revealing more details of 'Newsclick's operations', Patra added, "Newsclick is said to be a normal portal. But they accepted 9.59 crores of foreign funding. 2 companies infused money in this company. While Rs 10 per share is what is its original value, it was inflated just to look that it was an authentic destination for FDI. Newsclick received money from several other websites too".
Divulging the specifics and naming those like Gautam Navlakha, Bappa Aditya Sinha, Joseph Raj, the BJP alleged that these individuals received money from Newsclick to 'defame India and abuse Modi'. BJP alleged that Navlakha - who is an accused in the Elgar Parishad case- received Rs 21 lakhs from Newsclick, while Sinha allegedly received Rs 52 lakhs and Raj received some unknown amount of money. BJP claimed that Sinha who is a shareholder of Newsclick is also an IT official of CPI. The BJP spokesperson ended by saying, "Despite all this, India will win this fight".
The alleged flow of money to defame India to these hands by a portal that claims to be a news portal becomes more problematic given that the present allegation includes that the funders of the said portal have a Chinese connection. This if proven begs the question of whether Chinese money was pumped into a portal that in turn handed out monetary inducements to amplify a crafted anti-India agenda.
Newsclick's alleged CPC connection
As per a report in the media, ED is probing into news portal Newsclick's financial dealing with one Neville Roy Singham - who allegedly is the key source of Rs 38 crore which Newsclick received between 2018 and 2021 from abroad. The news report alleged that Singham was associated with the propaganda arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and that most of the money received by the portal has been shown as 'export of services'. Any links to CPC has been denied by Newsclick editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha.
In February, the ED conducted raids at the office of NewsClick in the Saidulajab area of the national capital. The central agency also conducted raids at the homes of its owner and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha and Editor Pranjal in connection with alleged foreign funding received by the news organisation. According to its website, NewsClick (newsclick.in) is an “independent media organization dedicated to cover news from India and elsewhere with a focus on progressive movements”, founded in 2009.