NEW DELHI: Seizing on the alleged dubious foreign funding of a news portal, the BJP claimed on Sunday that “anti-india” elements in league with foreign forces are part of a conspiracy to demean the country and target the Modi government.
Addressing a press conference, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra cited media reports about the Enforcement Directorate probe into the portal, Newsclick, and said that it received FDI of Rs 9.59 crore and foreign funding of another Rs 28.46 crore to dubious purposes.
Newsclick Editor-in-Chief Prabir Purkayastha said in a statement that a smear campaign has been launched against the portal, and “selective leaks” from the ED, whose probe is already under challenge before court, reflect the “inherent weakness” in the investigation and the course that it will take in the courts.
Patra alleged that the funding received by the portal was diverted to various people, including activist Gautam Navlakha, an accused in the Bhima Koregaon case, and said this was a “price tag” to foment anti-India sentiments, “abuse” Prime Minister Narendra Modi and do propaganda for foreign forces.
“Anti-India forces are doing this conspiracy in league with foreign forces,” he said, alleging that the portal wore the mask of a media house to demean India.
Some mainstream politicians of India and foreign forces are also with such portals, and they have been working as a gang in a planned way, he alleged.
Patra claimed that whenever any “good” thing happened in the country, be it the Covid vaccination policy or the Central Vista project, some people targeted it.
He alleged that the incident highlights the role of foreign funding and foreign conspiracy behind such campaigns to demean India.
The Central Vista project received nod from courts but some people still went ahead with their agenda in a “stubborn” manner to demean India, he said.
Since Modi became prime minister, he has been a thorn in the flesh of some leaders not only here but also of foreign forces, Patra claimed.
Purkayastha said in a rejoinder that the foreign direct investments have been made in Newsclick and the fees received for syndication services it has carried out, through normal banking channels.
“Newsclick has received funds, which have been duly disclosed to authorities in India, both from reputed entities and foundations in the US and as per rules and regulations in India and the United States governing such transactions,” he said.
“Since the matter is already in the courts, Newsclick does not believe that it should participate in a media trial. It is unfortunate that the BJP, the ruling party, also sees fit to air such unfounded allegations,” he added.
The portal reserves the right to initiate appropriate legal action on these matters, he said, adding it will continue to carry out its journalistic duties as it has been doing and will not be forced into submission by these attacks.
All the revelations in the Newsclick FDI case clearly indicate that the entire operation of the portal was in foreign hands and they were controlling it.
The persons running Newsclick were completely sold out to their foreign funders, Patra said.
Patra said that the ED investigation has also revealed that the funding was secured from America’s Justice and Education fund Inc, GSPAN LLC and Tricontinental Ltd Inc.
“All these US companies are registered in one address. All this clearly reveals that those running Newsclick were not only running a campaign to defame and destabilize the Narendra Modi government but also conspiring against India and trying to create unrest and disturb harmony,” he claimed.