Thursday, December 9, 2021

Arrest notice to Paranjoy Guha in Adani defamation case

The Gujarat court in Kutch district issues an arrant warrant against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in a defamation case filed by the Adani group. The case dates back to June 2017, when two articles explaining how the Narendra Modi government’s tweaking of special economic zone rules had led to the benefit of Rs 500 crore to Adani Group. They were first published in the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) and then in The Wire. 

The first article headlined “Did the Adani Group Evade Rs 1,000 Crore in Taxes?” was published in January 2017, while the second “Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group” followed six months later in June. Guha, then the editor of EPW, had co-written the articles with other journalists.

The Adani group then sent a legal notice to the publications, stating that the articles were defamatory and they should take them down. The EPW took them down, which led Thakurta to resign as editor. However, The Wire refused to comply with the notice after which the Adani group went to the court and filed two cases against the authors and editors: a civil defamation suit in Bhuj and a criminal defamation suit in Mundra.

According to PTI, judicial magistrate Pradeep Soni pronounced that Thakurta was charged under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, and ordered the police in Delhi’s Nizamuddin, where the seasoned editor lived when the complaint was filed in 2017, to “arrest the said accused and to produce him before me”.

Thakurta repeatedly ignored the summons and directed his queries to his lawyer Anand Yagnik who says that his client didn’t receive any information regarding that.

Whereas on one hand, the lawyer had said that they didn’t receive any information, on the other hand, he has also informed that they had appealed for Thakurta to be exempt from the personal appearance but the court did not agree to it. As per the Live Law report, the court said that the case has been continuing since 2017 and since Thakurta had appeared through 2019, he can personally appear even now. 

Meanwhile, The Wire has released their statement mentioning that they didn’t found the article defamatory.


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