The Delhi Police has sealed the office of news portal NewsClick in connection with its probe into a case filed under the anti-terror law UAPA following allegations that it received money for pro-China propaganda.
The Delhi Police's Special Cell searched over 30 locations connected with the news portal and its journalists on Tuesday.
The arrested persons include NewsClick Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkaystha and Human Resources chief Amit Chakravarty.
The raids reportedly took place at the residences of 46 people including Purkayastha, video journalist Abhisar Sharma, political commentator and senior journalist Aunindyo Chakravarty, veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Bhasha Singh, Bappa Sinha, and Urmilesh.
"A total of 37 male suspects have been questioned at premises, 09 female suspects have been questioned at their respective places of stay and digital devices, documents etc. have been seized/collected for examination," the Delhi Police said.
Some journalists, including Thakurta and Urmilesh, were also taken to Special Cell's office. Urmilesh was released later in the evening.
"We have been here (outside Police Special Cell office in Delhi) since 10 am and have been trying to meet our clients. However, we have not been able to meet them, neither have we been provided with any documents, nor did we get the copy of the FIR," Gaurav Yadav, advocate of NewsClicks journalist Urmilesh told news agency PTI.
A fresh case has been registered by the Delhi Police Special Cell against NewsClick under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA.
The news portal has been under the scanner of the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) amid allegations that it received funds from China.
The houses of past and present Newsclick journalists, contributors and employees were allegedly searched. The others raided early Tuesday morning included satirist and stand-up comic Sanjay Rajoura and historian Sohail Hashmi.
Raids were also conducted in Mumbai at activist Teesta Setalvad’s house and CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury. Setalvad is the director of think tank Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research, which has contributed articles to NewsClick.
The raid at Yechury's residence was prompted by the presence of a NewsClick employee reportedly residing within the premises, the CPI(M) leader confirmed to news agency ANI.