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Updated December 19th, 2023 at 20:32 IST

Delhi police to question Gautam Navlakha on Wednesday over Newsclick-Chinese funding case

Delhi police to question Gautam Navlakha over Newsclick-Chinese funding case

Isha Bhandari
Delhi police to question Gautam Navlakha
Delhi police to question Gautam Navlakha | Image:ANI
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New Delhi: A Delhi Police team is scheduled to question activist Gautam Navlakha at his residence in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday in connection with the Newsclick-Chinese funding case. 

What is the Newsclick-Chinese funding case? 

The Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested news portal's Founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha and HR Head Amit Chakravarty on October 3. They are currently in judicial custody. According to the FIR, a large amount of funds to the news portal came from China to "disrupt the sovereignty of India" and cause disaffection against the country. It also alleged Purkayastha conspired with a group--People's Alliance for Democracy and Secularism (PADS)--to sabotage the electoral process during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Raids were conducted at 88 locations in Delhi and seven in other states on the suspects named in the FIR and those that surfaced in the analysis of data, police said.

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Around 300 electronic gadgets were also seized from the offices of NewsClick and the residences of the journalists who were examined. Following the raids, 46 individuals, including nine female journalists, were questioned by the Special Cell.

Gautam Navlakha also involved in Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to activist Gautam Navlakha, arrested in the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case.A division bench headed by Justice A S Gadkari said Navlakha's plea seeking bail was "allowed".

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) urged the court to stay operation of the order for a period of six weeks so that it could file an appeal in the Supreme Court. The bench stayed the order for three weeks.

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Navlakha, who was arrested in August 2018, was in November last year permitted by the Supreme Court to be placed under house arrest. He is residing in Navi Mumbai at present.

The high court granted Navlakha bail on a surety of Rs 1 lakh. He is the seventh accused in the case to be granted bail.

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In April this year, a special court had refused to grant bail to Navlakha, noting that there was prima facie evidence to show that the activist was an active member of banned outfit CPI (Maoist).

In his appeal filed in the high court, Navlakha said the special court had erred while refusing bail to him.

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This is Navlakha's second round of appeal in the high court seeking regular bail.

Navlakha had earlier moved the high court after the special NIA court rejected his regular bail plea in September last year.

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The NIA had then opposed Navlakha's bail plea, claiming that he had been introduced to a Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General for his recruitment, which shows his nexus with the organisation.

The high court had, however, opined that the reasoning in the order of the special court was cryptic and did not contain analysis of the evidence relied upon by the prosecution's view of this. The high court had ruled that the bail application requires fresh hearing by the special court, and had remanded the case back to the court.

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It had also directed the special judge to conclude the hearing within four weeks.

Accordingly, Navlakha had moved the special court for re-hearing his case for regular bail.

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The special court had then re-heard the plea on the same pleadings and rejected the bail plea prompting the present appeal.

What is the Elgar Parishad-Maoist links case?

The case relates to alleged inflammatory speeches made at the Elgar Parishad conclave held in Pune on December 31, 2017 which the police claim triggered violence the next day near the Koregaon-Bhima war memorial on the outskirts of the western Maharashtra city.

As many as 16 activists have been arrested in the case of which five are currently out on bail.

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Scholar-activist Anand Teltumbde, lawyer Sudha Bharadwaj, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferrira and Mahesh Raut are out on regular bail, while poet Varavara Rao is currently out on bail on health grounds. Navlakha is the seventh accused to be granted bail in this case. 

With PTI inputs 

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Published December 19th, 2023 at 20:24 IST

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