On February 09, Enforcement directorate raided at the home of NewsClick founder and Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha. Soon after, Editor’s Guild of India claimed that the raids are an attempt to curb the Freedom of Expression of press and media. However, sources have revealed that ED found several incriminating documents and suspicious financial transactions.
According to the sources in ED, NewsClick had received Rs.10 crore under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from an American company. Interestingly, NewsClick’s owner Prabir Purkayastha has no idea for what purpose the American company transferred the money to his company’s account. He could not give any proof of work that he has done for the particular company.
Further investigation revealed that another US-based company gave them Rs.20 crore and marked it as ‘Export Remittance’. The money was transferred because NewsClick had uploaded content on a portal named People’s Dispatch.
Sources revealed that Purkayastha also took Rs.1.5 crore rupees in the name of maintenance. Interestingly, he had hired a ninth-class pass electrician for maintenance at his office. The money he took was without any documentation, which made it impossible for him to explain the transaction to ED.
The connection between CPI and Newsclick
During the investigation, it was revealed another NewsClick employee had received Rs.52 lakh from an American company. The same person has connections with CPI as he works in the IT cell of CPI and manages Twitter accounts of CPI leaders.
What all ED found made it clear that NewsClick has not much to do with journalism, but it is a nexus between foreign agencies that are trying to propagate their agenda in India. Sources also claimed that Purkayastha had received Rs.20 lakh to open a company with Gautam Navlakha who is one of the main accused of Bhima Goregaon Riots and currently lodged in jail.
NewsClick also allegedly received money from different companies registered at the same address. One such company is a defence supplier as well. It is still unclear why a defence company paid money to a media agency in India. Above all, why would such a company pay someone who is currently lodged in jail on riots charges?
OpIndia’s report on funds received by Newsclick and its links to Navlakha
On February 09, OpIndia had published a detailed report on foreign funding worth Rs.30 crore received by NewsClick where we explored its links with Gautam Navlakha. In our report, we mentioned how Purkayastha and Navlakha were directors of a company called Startacus Software Private Limited. ED sources also talked about funds Purkayastha received for opening a company with Navlakha. Interestingly, Gautam Navlakha was an “Independent Partner” of PP NEWSCLICK STUDIO LLP where he was appointed to the position on April 17, 2017.
The OpIndia report details Purkayastha’s decades-old association with Navlakha and the suspicious sources of foreign funding. Gautam Navlakha was an “Independent Partner” of PP NEWSCLICK STUDIO LLP where he was appointed to the position on the 17th of April, 2017. It is pertinent to note here that 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.
The current status of PP NEWSCLICK STUDIO LLP says, “Converted to CMP and Dissolved”. It is also to be noted that Prabir Purkayastha and Gautam Navlakha were appointed as Directors of SSP in September 1993.