Income Tax surveys were conducted on the premises of news portals Newslaundry and NewsClick in Delhi on Friday 10 September, with a senior department official telling The Indian Express that the surveys were related to alleged tax evasion. Chines Connection was alleged related to one portal in previous reports.
“Surveys have been carried out in the case of both Newslaundry and NewsClick. The department’s officials conducted surveys on their premises in Delhi on charges of tax evasion,” the official said.Both organisations were paid a visit by IT officials on June 30 too, when notices were served to them. At the NewsClick office, statements of founder and Editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and Pranjal were taken at the time.
Newsclick was raided earlier in February as well. The raids were reportedly related to a money laundering case and the agency was investigating the funding the organisation had received from “dubious companies” abroad.
According to OpIndia sources in ED said that , NewsClick had received Rs.10 crore under Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from an American company. 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. It is not known whether the current raids are related to the previous raid.
In July 2021 it was reported by Times of India that the Enforcement Directorate’s investigation into a money laundering case against media portal Newsclick and its promoters has turned the spotlight on their financial dealings with Neville Roy Singham, a businessman of Sri Lankan-Cuban descent whom the investigators have identified as the key source of Rs 38 crore that PPK Newsclick Studio Pvt received between 2018 and 2021 from abroad. Sources in the agency, who have been mapping the flow of funds to the media outlet, alleged that Singham was associated with the propaganda arm of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
According to Hindustan Times sources, “NewsClick and Newslaundry received Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) at very high premium while their net worth was very low. There are also gaps in the financials of both the companies, which suggest tax evasion but we are verifying the same” .
Both the portals’s owners denied any wrongdoing in their statements.
Related Recommended Readings –