Bhubaneswar (Odisha): As Delhi Police's Special Cell raided the residences of senior journalists associated with the online portal NewsClick, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Tuesday said that the crackdown would have been definitely done on the basis of evidence.
While speaking to reporters here, the Union Minister said, "The investigation agencies are doing their work. If the agency has taken action, then it must have been based on evidence or complaint."
Earlier, on Tuesday, Delhi Police's Special Cell carried out raids at more than 30 locations linked with the online news portal NewsClick and its journalists.
The raids came in connection with a case registered on August 17 under UAPA and other sections of IPC, including 153A (promoting enmity between two groups), and 120 B (criminal conspiracy).
Responding to the incident, the Editors Guild, in a statement, said it was "deeply concerned" about the raids at the residences of senior journalists early this morning.
"Their laptops, mobile phones and other devices have been seized. Senior journalists have been taken into custody by the Delhi Police, allegedly for 'questioning.' Media reports suggest that the raids have been widespread. The raids are reportedly being conducted in connection with an FIR filed under the draconian UAPA and laws relating to criminal conspiracy and disruption of communal harmony against journalists, including those associated with the website Newsclick.in," the Guild said in a statement.
"EGI is concerned that these raids are yet another attempt to muzzle the media. While we recognise that the law must take its course if actual offences are involved, due process has to be followed. The investigation of specific offences must not create a general atmosphere of intimidation under the shadow of draconian laws, or impinge on the freedom of expression and the raising of dissenting and critical voices," it added.
The Editor-in-Chief of NewsClick, Prabir Purkayastha and writers Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and Urmilesh were brought to the special cell offices in the national capital on Tuesday as part of the investigation.
Earlier, on August 10, a report in the New York Times had alleged that NewsClick was part of a global network that receives funding from American billionaire Neville Roy Singham.
Singham is known as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes, is at the centre of a lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda.
Singham is also said to have close ties with the Chinese government's media machine.