On January 19, 2021, a Court in Gujarat’s Kutch district issued an arrest warrant against the veteran journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in relation to a defamation case filed by the Adani group against him in 2017.
According to a PTI report, Judicial Magistrate Pradeep Soni directed the Nizamuddin police station in New Delhi to arrest the journalist and said, “the accused stands charged with a complaint under section 500 of IPC. You are hereby directed to arrest the said accused and to produce him before me.” According to the report Anand Yagnik, the lawyer of Thakurta noted that they haven’t received any intimation from the court but have heard about this from the media sources.
The article in question was first published in the Economic and Political Weekly in 2017. It claimed that the Centre had amended the rules of the Special Economic Zone in order to facilitate the Adani Group. This article was republished by The Wire. The journalist had claimed with all the evidence that the changed rules had facilitated ‘duty reimbursements for raw materials to Adani Power Limited,’ leading to a benefit of INR 500 crores.
A criminal defamation case was filed against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, the co-author of the paper and The Wire. However, in 2019 the Adani group withdrew the cases against the co-author and The Wire but not on the author. The lawyer of the author in the above mentioned PTI report is quoted to have said, they have moved a discharge application.
A journalist who had been reporting on the people’s movements against the Adani group, speaking to Gauri Lankesh News under the condition of anonymity explained that the multinational corporate giant, Adani group has been trying ways to intimidate and silence the voices of those being critical of them.
The journalist said, “there is a pattern of cracking down on stories against the group, the most obvious being the defamation suits, other subtle ways being refusing to provide concrete statements, issuing smaller notices to organisations and singling out reporters.”