Indian Journalist Mohammed Zubair, the co-founder of fact-check website Alt News, was accused of getting money via payment gateway Razorpay as his bail plea was heard in a court in Delhi on Saturday.
Fresh charges have been added against the 33-year-old journalist by the Delhi Police - Sections 120B (criminal conspiracy) and 201( disappearance of evidence) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 35 of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
Zubair was arrested by the Delhi Police on Monday over a 2018 tweet after he was accused of hurting religious sentiments.
"From the analysis of the reply received from Razorpay payment gateway, various transactions, with phone numbers or IP addresses outside India, were from locations including, Bangkok, Manama, North-Holland, Singapore, Victoria, New York, England, Riyadh Region," public prosecutor Atul Shrivastava told the court.
"Locations also included Sharjah, Stockholm, Aichi, central, western and eastern provinces of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, Washington DC, Kansas, New Jersey, Ontario, California, Texas, Lower Saxony, Bern, Dubai, Uusima and Scotland," he added.
Countering the arguments, Zubair's lawyer, Vrinda Grover, told the court on his behalf: "The money which is being alleged to be received in violation of the FCRA has not gone into my account. All money had gone into the account of Pravda Media."
A day after the arrest, the police got a four-day remand to question him. The 33-year-old on Thursday was taken to his Bengaluru home for further investigation where a laptop and a hard disk were seized.
"Zubair was taken to Bengaluru with four officers but not a single technical person was taken. These are public resources… look at the conduct of the investigating agency. Even the hash value has not been generated," Grover told the court on Saturday, stressing that he should get bail and the investigation was over.
"This Twitter handle (Hanuman Bhakt) pulls out this tweet which what purpose. He says his religious sentiments are hurt, but this is not 'Indian Hurt Sentiment Code'. This is the Indian Penal Code," Grover underlined in the court during the hearing, referring to the complainant in the case and the 2018 tweet that had allegedly hurt his religious sentiments.