Prabir Purkayastha is an Indian engineer who is the founder and editor-in-chief of the news website NewsClick. In 2023, he came into the headlines after he was arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with a case filed against his news website under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The case was filed against NewsClick following the allegations that it received money from US billionaire Neville Roy Singham for pro-China propaganda.
Prabir Purkayastha was born in 1950 (age 73 years; as of 2023) in Delhi, India. He obtained a master’s degree from Motilal College of Engineering. He attended the Indian Institute of Technology for his master’s thesis. He also attended the School of Language at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Scroll.in While studying at JNU, Prabir was involved in student politics. In 1975, during the Emergency, Prabir Purkayastha was arrested by the police from Jawaharlal Nehru University when he was trying to stop students from attending classes. However, it was a case of mistaken identity as the police was looking for Devi Prasad Tripathi. Scroll.in In his college days, he used to write articles on various social issues.
Height (approx.): 5′ 9″
Hair Colour: Salt & Pepper
Eye Colour: Brown
Parents & Siblings
Prabir Purkayastha’s mother’s name is S Purkayastha.
Wife & Children
He is married to Githa Hariharan, an author. Together, they have a son named Pratik.
Reportedly, he was earlier married to Ashoka Lata Jain.
Reportedly, while he was studying at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, he was romantically involved with Ashoka Lata Jain. As per some reports, the two later got married to each other. Jamhoor
Prabir Purkayastha began his career as a corporate employee. In 2009, while he was working as a consultant at a firm, he struck on the idea of starting a news website. Simultaneously, he rented a small room, which he used as his news studio, and started his venture NewsClick. He is also the editor-in-chief of NewsClick. Prabir is one of the founding members of the Delhi Science Forum.
Purkayastha has co-authored the book Enron Blowout: Corporate Capitalism and Theft of the Global Commons (2002) along with Vijay Prashad. He is also the co-author of the book Uncle Sam’s Nuclear Cabin (2007). In 2021, Prabir, along with Indranil and Richa Chintan, co-edited the book Political Journeys in Health: Essays by and for Amit Sengupta.
China Funding Row
On 3 October 2023, Prabir Purkayastha was arrested by the Delhi Police in connection with a case registered against his news website NewsClick under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA). The Delhi Police claimed that NewsClick had allegedly received Rs. 38 crore from a network with links to China to promote pro-China content on the website. The police further said that Rs. 29 crore was allegedly received as fees for export services while Rs. 9 crore was received as FDI through inflating share prices.
Before Prabir’s arrest, the police carried out searches at the homes and offices of journalists, authors, academics, and contributors associated with NewsClick, seizing the phones and laptops of all the employees, contributors, and consultants of the news portal.
Hours after the raid, the Editors Guild of India, the non-profit organisation of journalists, issued a statement urging the centre to follow due process and avoid making harsh laws as tools for press intimidation. The statement read,
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, the 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.”
Earlier, an FIR was registered against NewsClick under Sections 13, 16, 17, 18 and 22 of the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sections 153A and 120B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) by the Special Cell of the Delhi Police on 17 August 2023 after the New York Times alleged that the news website had received from a network pushing campaigns in support of China and its propaganda.
- As per some sources, he was once associated with the Communist Party of India (Marxist). The Telegraph
- According to some sources he suffers from hypertension, diabetes, and asthma.
- Prabir is an advocate for scientific initiatives within the domains of power, telecommunications, and software.