New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday, December 1, extended protection from arrest to four journalists who had been summoned by the Gujarat Police over their articles critical of the Adani Group. The Gujarat government has been given one week’s time to file its response, Livelaw.in reported.
On November 3, journalists Ravi Nair and Anand Mangnale had secured relief from arrest in the apex court, after their article on the Adani-Hindenburg row appeared on the website of Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) resulted in them being served notices. Subsequently, the court had also granted relief to two other journalists from the Financial Times, Benjamin Nicholas Brooke Parkin and Chloe Nina Cornish, on November 10.
When the matter came up for hearing on Friday, December 1, before the division Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Sanjay Karol, the counsel for OCCRP journalists requested that the matter be heard by the Bench of Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Prakash Kumar Mishra, which had originally granted them the relief as per the Supreme Court rules.
To this, solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Gujarat government, said one cannot choose the Bench, as it is the Supreme Court (not individual Benches) which is hearing the matter.
The OCCRP article was published on August 31 and was entitled ‘Documents Provide Fresh Insight Into Allegations of Stock Manipulation That Rocked India’s Powerful Adani Group’. The authors of the article, Nair and Mangnale, were summoned by Ahmedabad’s crime branch in October, stating that it wants to conduct a preliminary probe based on an application from an investor named Yogeshbhai Mafatlal Bhansali.
On the other hand, the Gujarat Police had summoned the FT journalists based on a complaint from an investor in the Adani Group. The FT article was entitled ‘Secret Paper Trail Reveals Hidden Adani Investors‘.