Guj HC suspends warrant against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

A Kutch court had issued a non-bailable arrest warrant in connection with a 2017 defamation case related to an article about the Adani Group

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

The Gujarat High Court has suspended a Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) issued against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in connection with a criminal defamation case. The high court however directed Thakurta to be present before the lower court at the next hearing.

On January 18, a Kutch court had issued the NBW after Thakurta failed to appear before it in connection with a 2017 criminal defamation lawsuit filed by the Adani Group. Thakurta’s counsel Anand Yagnik said that Thakurta remained absent after his request for exemption from appearance in wake of Covid-19 related concerns was rejected. After the NBW was issued Thakurta moved to have it set aside.

Brief background of the case

The matter pertains to an article in The Wire by the journalist about how Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules were amended by the Centre to allegedly benefit Adani Power Ltd. The article said Adani had claimed reimbursement in advance without paying any duty and had benefited to the tune of Rs 500 crores in the process!

Interestingly, the article was first published in The Economic and Political Weekly on June 14, 2017, but it was taken down after the Adani Group sent them a notice. It was republished in The Wire on June 19, 2017. Guha Thakurta also resigned from EPW in protest.

The Adani Group then filed a defamation suit against Thakurta and The Wire in 2017. But in July 2018, Additional Sessions judge NR Joshi set aside the criminal defamation complaint as well as summons issued by a magistrate citing lack of “cogent reasoning”. In May 2019, the Adani Group withdrew the case against The Wire, but not against Guha Thakurta.  



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