NewsClick received ₹28.29 crore from US Businessman: Report
News portal NewsClick, facing allegations over its alleged links to China, received ₹28.29 crore between 2018 and 2021 from four different entities linked to an American millionaire accused of spreading Chinese propaganda, according to a report.
Out of the ₹28.29 crore, ₹27.51 crore was received from a US-based entity identified as the Justice and Education Fund, ₹26.98 lakh from another US-registered firm GSPAN LLC, ₹49.31 lakh from US-based Tricontinental Limited Inc and ₹2.03 lakh from Brazil-based Centro Popular De Midas, the Hindustan Times reported quoting a Delhi Police official.
The revelations came two days after sweeping raids across five cities resulted in the arrests of NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and human resources head Amit Chakravarty. The two have been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
The Delhi Police launched a probe following a report in the The New York Times that the portal was part of a global network that received money for pushing Chinese propaganda. The American newspaper, in its August 5 article, said that millionaire Singham funded NewsClick, among other outlets across the globe, to sprinkle its coverage with Chinese government talking points.
PPK Studio NewsClick Private Limited - – the mother company of NewsClick – was incorporated on January 11, 2018 by Purkayastha, according to the HT report. "Three months later, the Worldwide Media Holdings LLC, Delaware – now a defunct company and part of Neville Singham network – invested ₹9.59 crore into the newly incorporated PPK Newsclick in April 2018. The foreign investors also managed to artificially jack up the premium of a share of ₹10 to ₹11,510," the Delhi Police official was quoted as saying in the report.
A second investigator from the Enforcement Directorate -- the federal agency first lodged a money laundering case against the website in 2021 -- said that during the investigation, ₹52.09 lakhs was paid to an unidentified member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).
"In 2021, ED searched the premises of NewsClick to collect additional information and help probe money laundering charges against the company. We could unearth a money trail of foreign remittances amounting to ₹38 crore...We also got sufficient evidence that a good amount of money was also paid to several journalists on the rolls of the company. During our raids, we found that there were numerous email exchanges between Singham and the director and stakeholder of NewsClick. These e-mails revealed that money was paid to NewsClick to spruce up Chinese propaganda especially its role in Africa, and defending China’s crackdown on Jack Ma," the ED investigator added, requesting anonymity.