New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has issued fresh summons to Shanghai-based millionaire Neville Roy Singham for allegedly funnelling funds to media portal NewsClick.
Singham – a US citizen currently located in Shanghai – was issued a fresh summons to record his statement with the central agency last month through the Ministry of External Affairs with the Chinese authorities, a source said.
Earlier last year, the Chinese authorities had reportedly refused to serve summons to Singham.
The ED is probing how Singham’s media company was promoting Chinese propaganda in India.
Notably, the Delhi Police arrested NewsClick founder Prabir Purkayastha and the company’s HR Head Amit Chakravarty last month on charges of alleged anti-India activities.
As part of its inquiry, the ED had attached a flat in New Delhi’s Saket linked to Prabir Purkayashta, editor-in-chief of NewsClick, concerning its money laundering probe against the news portal.
The property worth Rs 4.52 crore attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) was allegedly part of the proceeds of crime.
ED is probing “fraudulent” foreign funds infusion of over Rs 86 crore into the portal company.
The probe agency had raided Purkayastha’s premises in September 2021.
As per ED officials, the company claimed “receiving export remittance” of Rs 76.84 crore, Rs 1.61 crore, Rs 26.98 lakh, and Rs 2.03 lakh from Justice and Education Fund Inc USA, The Tricontinental Ltd Inc USA, GSPAN LLC USA and Centro Popular De Midas, Brazil, from March 2018 until the 2021 raids.
Officials said the agency has not found evidence of exporting services to these entities. ED is also probing at the foreign direct investment (FDI) transfer of Rs 9.59 crore in April 2018 by way of subscription of shares of PPK NEWSCLICK Studio Pvt Ltd from a company named Worldwide Media Holdings LLC, USA (a Delaware Limited Liability Company).
They said the company shut shop soon after this transfer of funds.
ED suspects the funds routed through Justice and Education Fund Inc USA belonged to Singham.
The probe agency has alleged Singham is a “close confidant” of Purkayastha and a “Chinese emphasizer”.
Purkayastha and Chakravarty are currently in judicial custody.