Gujarat: The Judicial bench headed by Justice B N Karia on Thursday suspended non-bailable warrant issued against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in Adani defamation case. The magistrate order was suspended while hearing the application filed by Guha praying to quash and set aside the order dated 18th January, passed by Judicial Magistrate First Class, Mundra, Kutch.
In connection with 2017 criminal defamation lawsuit filed by the Adani Group, a Kutch court on January 18 had issued the non-bailable warrant after journalist failed to appear before it. According to Anand Yagnik, Thakurta's counsel, Guha had remained absent after his request for exemption from appearance in wake of Covid-19 related concerns was rejected. As soon as the warrant was issued, Thakurta moved to have it set aside.
Background of the case
Adani group had filed a criminal case against the journalist in the year 2017. An article written by Paranjoy in 'The Wire' about Special Economic Zone (SEZ) rules had alleged that the amended rules by the centre benefit Adani Power Ltd, a leading integrated business conglomerate headquartered in Ahmedabad. The article states that without paying any duty, Adani had reimbursement in advance and reaped benefits worth Rs 500 crores.
Paranjaoy's controversial article was taken down when the Adani group sent a notice to 'The Weekly', as it was first published in 'The Economic and Political Weekly' on June 14, 2017. After 'The Weekly' removed the article from it, Guha resigned the editorial position from EPW and contributed the article to 'The Wire'.
'The Wire' later published two articles titled 'Did the Adani Group Evade Rs 1000 Crore in Taxes?' and 'Modi Government's Rs 500 crore Bonanza to the Adani Group' to expose Adani's relation with Modi government. However, in May 2019, Adani group withdrew the case against 'The Wire' but not against Thakurta.