The Delhi Police on Tuesday registered a case against Newsclick under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) amid allegations of funding from China and searched the homes of several journalists associated with the news portal.

The Police conducted search operations at the residence of several journalists including Newsclick Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha, Sohail Hashmi, Bhasha Singh, Urmilesh, Abhisar Sharma, and others.

Earlier, the Enforcement Directorate had registered a case against the news portal and investigated its funding.

The investigation comes two months after a New York Times report revealed how a group of influence campaigns, media organisations and shell companies were funded by China to propagate Chinese propaganda. The investigation also showed how NewsClick was also part of the Chinese propaganda.

The investigation claimed that American millionaire Neville Roy Singham, linked to NewsClick, worked closely with the Chinese government media machine and was part of its worldwide propaganda. Singham used to fund NewsClick to peddle Chinese propaganda in India.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had conducted raid on NewsClick office in New Delhi in 2021 and began an enquiry against the website based on strong evidence of money laundering.

What Did NYT Investigation Revealed?

The New York Times tracked hundreds of millions of dollars to groups linked to Neville Roy Singham- which included a think tank and an event space in the US, a political party in South Africa and news organisations in India and Brazil.

Singham was allegedly on the front lines of China’s Communist Party’s “smokeless war”. Under the mission, China expanded its media operations, teamed with outlets and cultivated influencers to disguise propaganda as independent content. The investigation was the “first to unravel the funding and document Singham’s ties to Chinese propaganda interests,” the report claimed.

“In New Delhi, corporate filings show, Mr. Singham’s network financed a news site, NewsClick, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points,” the NYT report said.

It further added that the news platforms have cross-posted articles and share one another’s content on social media.

Who is Neville Roy Singham?

Neville Roy Singham is an American tech millionaire who has been identified as a significant supporter of left-wing causes in the US and the UK.

Founder of ThoughtWorks, an IT consulting company, Singham has been a major backer of left-wing groups such as Code Pink and No Cold War.

His wife, Jodie Evans, runs Code Pink which advocates American pacifism and left-wing causes, while his son works for a left-wing think tank- Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research.

It has been alleged that outfits linked to Singham uploaded content on social media to amplify Chinese propaganda.

In November 2022, Intelligence Online revealed Singham funnelled money to groups lobbying against Western support for Ukraine.

Singham reportedly has an office in Shanghai, which he shares with Chinese media company called Maku Group, a Chinese propaganda firm. The two firms apparently share employees.

News18 has reached out to Neville Roy Singham for his comments. This copy will be updated after we get the response.

All About NewsClick and 2021 Raid

NewsClick is a media platform that was founded in 2009 by Prabir Purkayastha, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of the organisation. The online news portal covers both Indian and International news and is owned by PPK NEWSCLICK Studio Private Limited.

The news website claims that it reports “diverse people’s movements and struggles” and focuses on “progressive movements.”

PPK Newsclick Studio Private Limited was searched by the officials of the ED on February 9 2021 to collect additional information to help probe money laundering charges against the company.

During the ED investigation, the search on PPK premises lasted 5 days and a total of 10 premises were covered, including the residence of Prabir Purkayastha, the promoter of the company.

The probe agency said PPK had received questionable foreign remittances amounting to Rs 38 crores. These remittances were classified as FDI of Rs 9.59 crore from April 2018, and remaining Rs 28.29 crore, was claimed to have been received for receipts for “export of services.”

The funds were also distributed to several controversial journalists including Gautam Navlakha and associates of Teestha Setalvad.

During the investigation it was revealed that Prabir Purkayastha along with his close associates Jason Pfetcher and Neville Roy Singham had infuse opaque foreign fund in PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt Ltd. It was also revealed that Purkayastha was in touch with Pfetcher and Singham since 2017.