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Google launches news startup in partnership with an outfit whose VC is accused of money laundering and has ties to Urban Naxal Gautam Navlakha

Digipub News India Foundation, the group that Google India is partnering with, has Prabir Purkyastha as its Vice Chairperson. He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Newsclick.

Google has announced that it has launched the Google News Initiative (GNI) Startups Lab India in partnership with the Digipub News India Foundation, a member of which is under the scanner for money laundering. Google said that GNI is “an accelerator program tailored to the needs of content startups in India, to help 10 businesses achieve sustainability.”

Source: Twitter

Google India said in a statement, “Created in partnership between the Google News Initiative (GNI), global innovation lab Echos, and DIGIPUB News India Foundation – the GNI Startups Lab India program supports high-quality reporting for local communities, single-topic audiences and/or previously underserved communities across India.”

“GNI, Echos and DIGIPUB have built a 16-week program specifically tailored to the needs of content startups in India. You will benefit from Echos’ experience in supporting media startups through design thinking and from DIGIPUB’s extensive network and active community in India: there will be workshops, coaching and high-profile networking opportunities,” it added.

Digipub News India Foundation, the group that Google India is partnering with, has Prabir Purkyastha as its Vice Chairperson. He is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Newsclick. The Enforcement Directorate had raided Purkyastha’s residence in connection with allegations of money laundering.

The company is alleged to have received over Rs. 30 crores in 3 years. It is further alleged that the funds were disbursed to journalists/activists in the name of salary or consultation fee. The beneficiaries include those associated with Teesta Setalvad. Other beneficiaries include Gautam Navlakha, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta among others.

Gautam Navlakha is an accused ‘Urban Naxal’ in the Bhima Koregaon case. The ‘Urban Naxal’ was a partner with Prabir Purkyastha in at least two companies. 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 founding members of Digipub itself provides abundant evidence of its leftist ideological orientation. It includes Alt News, Newsclick, Newslaundry, Scroll, The News Minute, The Quint, The Wire and among freelancers, the names include Akash Banerji, Faye DeSouza, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Neha Dixit.

According to ZaubaCorp, Prabir Purkayastha was one of the Directors at Digipub. Other Directors at Digipub included The News Minute’s Dhanya Rajendran, Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhi, and Ritu Kapur of The Quint.

The Leftist takeover of Big Tech in recent times has been well documented. Big Tech platforms have been engaging in the censorship of conservative and right-wing political opinion since the advent of Donald Trump. The new partnership between Google India and Digipub News India Foundation is further evidence of the alliance between the Left and Big Tech.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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