Adani Defamation Case: Gujarat HC Suspends Arrest Warrant Against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta

The high court also directed that the senior journalist should remain present on the next date of trial before the Mundra court.

New Delhi: The Gujarat high court on Thursday suspended a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued against senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in connection with a 2017 criminal defamation lawsuit filed by the Adani Group.

The arrest warrant had been issued by a local Mundra court in a criminal complaint filed by Adani Power Ltd, after Thakurta failed to be present in court.

Thakurta’s lawyer, Anand Yagnik, stated that the journalist had remained absent on the date of trial after an application for exemption on account of COVID-19 was rejected.

On January 18, judicial magistrate Pradeep Soni had issued a direction to the Nizamuddin police station in New Delhi, asking them to arrest the senior journalist.

Consequently, Thakurta moved an application to set aside the warrant. On Thursday, the high court suspended the NBW and directed that the senior journalist should remain present on the next date of trial before the Mundra court and shall submit an understanding that as and whenever the court requires his presence, he shall be present.

According to Yagnik, the next date of hearing before the high court is February 20, 2021.

2017 article

The defamation case pertains to an article that was first published in Economic and Political Weekly on June 14, 2017. Thakurta was the editor-in-chief of EPW at the time. The Wire had then republished the piece on June 19, 2017.

While EPW removed the article after receiving notices from the Adani Group, The Wire contested the application for an injunction. In May 2019, the group withdrew all its cases against The Wire.

Thakurta resigned as editor of EPW after its publisher Sameeksha Trust ordered the editorial department to take the article down.

In a statement issued on January 20, The Wire noted that all proceedings had been unconditionally withdrawn against itself and its editors in 2019 and that it was “dismayed to see that the case of civil and criminal defamation against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta has not been withdrawn”.