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DIGIPUB, with VC accused of money laundering and links to Gautam Navlakha, wants new Digital Media rules repealed: Details

Prabir Purkayastha is the Vice Chairperson of the DIGIPUB News India Foundation and also a Director.

DIGIPUB News India Foundation, that counts Prabir Purkayastha as its Vice Chairperson, has criticised the new social media regulations and written to the government expressing its “reservations” regarding the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021.

The association said in a statement, “These Rules in some places appear to go against the fundamental principle of news and its role in a democracy. While rules and laws already exist to hold news media accountable, the aforesaid rules enable the executive government to even remove content published as current affairs or news (Rule 14.) among other things.”

The statement also said that the new rules are a ‘threat to democracy’ and hinted that they were ‘unconstitutional’. It said, “We offer once again to have consultations with stakeholders before notifying these Rules. We ourselves wrote to the Honourable Minister for Information and Broadcasting on December 2, 2020, requesting to be part of a consultation process, but never received a reply. We believe it is still not too late.”

“We request you to repeal these Rules, or at least put them on hold, until meaningful consultations are undertaken with all the stakeholders,” it added. The letter was signed by Dhanya Rajendran of The News Minute, Prabir Purkayastha of NewsClick, Ritu Kapur of the Quint and Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri on behalf of DIGIPUB.

Prabir Purkayastha is the Vice Chairperson of the association and also a Director.

DIGIPUB director accused of money laundering

Prabir Purkayastha’s office and home was raided recently by the Enforcement Directorate to investigate the proceeds of crime related to PPK NEWSCLICK Studio Private Limited under the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. The company is alleged to have received over Rs. 30 crores in 3 years.

It was also alleged that the funds were disbursed to journalists and activists in the name of consultation fee. The beneficiaries include those associated with Teesta Setalvad. Other beneficiaries include Gautam Navlakha, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta among others.

Links to Gautam Navlakha

Prabir Purkayastha was the Director at companies along with Gautam Navlakha. Gautam Navlakha is one of the ‘Urban Naxals’ arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case and allegedly has links with Pakistan’s ISI. Following his arrest, it was reported that Gautam Navlakha was in touch with Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists as well.

Gautam Navlakha was an “Independent Partner” of PP NEWSCLICK STUDIO LLP where he was appointed to the position on the 17th of April, 2017. PPK NEWSCLICK Studio Private Limited, the current owner of Newsclick, was incorporated on the 11th of January, 2018, 10 days after the Bhima Koregaon violence.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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