The news website The Wire on Monday complied with an order passed by a civil court in Gujarat last month directing that it remove a part of an article alleging tax evasion by the Adani Group. The part that has been removed questioned judgements passed by the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court.
The article, authored by former Economic and Political Weekly editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, claimed the Centre had amended Special Economic Zone rules to facilitate duty reimbursements for raw materials to Adani Power Limited, leading to a benefit of Rs 500 crores. It alleged the company had falsely claimed this reimbursement without actually paying the duty in the first place.
The article was first published on June 14 in the Economic and Political Weekly, which later removed it following notices from the Adani Group. The Wire republished the article on June 19 with the permission of the Economic and Political Weekly. The controversy surrounding the article and the decision of the Economic and Political Weekly management to pull it down had led to Thakurta resigning from the post of editor in July.
On November 16, the civil court rejected the Adani Group’s plea that the article be removed and refused to order an interim injunction directing The Wire to take the story down.
Senior civil judge Jaimikumar R Pandit ruled that the petitioners could not establish the need for an interim injunction that would direct The Wire to remove the story till final disposal of the petition. But on the petitioners’ request, the order rejecting an injunction was stayed for a month to facilitate an appeal in the Gujarat High Court. According to Thakurta, the Adani Group seems not to have moved the High Court yet as information on such a petition has not been sent either to him or to The Wire.
Given that the time of one month provided for the appeal ended on Saturday, the civil court’s order came back into force that day, following which The Wire edited the article to remove references to the judgements of the Gujarat High Court and the Supreme Court, which were in the Adani Group’s favour.