A court in Gujarat’s Kutch district on Tuesday issued an arrest warrant against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in relation to a 2017 defamation case filed against him by the Adani Group, PTI reported.
In his order, Judicial Magistrate Pradeep Soni said that Thakurta was charged under Section 500 of the Indian Penal Code, which deals with defamation, and directed Nizamuddin police station in Delhi to produce the journalist before him.
Thakurta’s lawyer, however, said that they had not yet been informed about the order. “We haven’t received any intimation,” he told PTI. “This information [on arrest warrant] has come to us from media.”
The Adani Group had filed a defamation suit against Thakurta and news website The Wire in 2017 over an article by the journalist that 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. However, in July 2018, a Gujarat court set aside the criminal defamation plea complaint, and accompanying summons to the website. Then in May 2019, the Adani Group withdrew the case against The Wire.
Thakurta’s lawyer said that Adani Group had withdrawn complaints against everybody, but not against the author. He also said that they have filed a discharge application on the matter.
The article was first published on June 14, 2017, in the Economic and Political Weekly, which later removed it following notices from the Adani Group. The Wire republished the article on June 19, 2017, 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 the following month.