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HomeEditorialHow journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta gave Adani a tough time

How journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta gave Adani a tough time

The magazine might have got compromised but Paranjoy did not bow down to the pressure, and in a result Pranjoy lost his job.

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paranjoy guha thakurta, the wire, adani group, adani, gautam adani, hidenburg, adani scam, newsclick, thakurta, paranjoy, expose, hindenburg
Gautam Adani (left) and Paranjoy Guha Thakurta (right)

Long before Hindenburg, journalist- Paranjoy Guha Thakurta exposed Adani in 2017, Paranjoy was the first to tell the story of how the government gave 500 crores to Adani. But so many cases were put on Paranjoy. Finally, he was silenced by the court, his job was taken away, and Paranjoy was the editor of EPW Magazine. Adani sent a notice to EPW magazine threatening to file a defamation case. Out of fear, EPW Magazine deleted its news.

The magazine might have got compromised but Paranjoy did not bow down to the pressure, and in a result Pranjoy lost his job. Pranjoy had done another news story a few months ago about how Adani saved 1000 crores of tax and how DRI exposed it and sent notices to Adani. And how Adani’s fate changed soon after the Modi government came to power, all those charges against Adani were withdrawn. Meanwhile, a court in Gujarat’s Kutch district issued an arrest warrant against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta in a defamation suit filed by the Adani Group.

The case pertains primarily to two articles about the business that were published first in the Economic and Political Weekly and then in The Wire.

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The first article headlined “Did the Adani Group Evade Rs 1,000 Crore in Taxes?” was published in January 2017, while the second “Modi Government’s Rs 500-Crore Bonanza to the Adani Group” followed six months later in June. Guha, then the editor of EPW, had co-written the articles with other journalists.

After The Wire refused to comply with the notice, the Adani Group went to court applying for an injunction. It also filed two cases against the authors and the editors of The Wire in two different courts in Gujarat: a civil defamation suit in Bhuj and a criminal defamation case in Mundra.

In 2018, the Principal Senior Civil Judge of Bhuj turned down the injunction request in the civil defamation suit. The article could stay on The Wire’s website, the court ruled, subject to some minor tweaking: the removal of a sentence and an adverb. In 2019, shortly after the general elections, the Adani Group withdrew all civil and criminal proceedings in the matter against all parties – except Thakurta.

Thakurta is also at the centre of another litigation initiated by the company. Last year, a group company, Adani Power Rajasthan Limited, approached an Ahmedabad court, seeking a gag order on the news website Newsclick from reporting on the company, among other things. The revelation of the gag order follows coverage of an arrest warrant against a veteran Indian journalist and other moves by Adani against critics.

Bob Brown slammed billionaire Gautam Adani for his attack on freedom of speech in India and Australia. The criticism followed the revelation today that veteran Indian journalist, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, has been the subject of an Adani gag order for four months. Paranjoy also has been subjected to a gag order arising from yet another case initiated by Adani. A court in Ahmedabad, the capital of Adani’s home state of Gujarat, agreed in September 2020 to an interim injunction sought by an Adani company preventing Paranjoy from reporting on the Adani Group.

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Adani has piled one case after another on Paranjoy in an attempt to silence him. The courts in Adani’s home state of Gujarat have complied, issuing a gag order and an arrest warrant. This behaviour is more that of a police state than what you would expect in a proud democracy like India.

The injunction also applied to Paranjoy’s colleague, Abir Dasgupta, a frequent contributor to AdaniWatch, and to NewsClick, the outlet in which the pertinent stories were published. Adani Watch investigator, Geoff Law, warned of the dangers to the public’s right to know about the activities of such a massive corporation. The stories described Supreme Court decisions favourable to the Adani Group made by India’s Supreme Court. Adani claimed that the reports were libellous and mounted a case of criminal defamation. Proceedings have yet to commence in the case, but in the meantime, Paranjoy, NewsClick and Abir Dasgupta are restricted from reporting on the Adani Group.

The latest Adani Files reveal that Adani has already brought their shonky business practices and environmental destruction to Australia. It proves beyond a doubt that Adani can’t be trusted to build the world’s biggest new coal mine. And they definitely can’t be trusted with a billion taxpayer dollars to do it.

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Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman
Vaidehi Taman an Accredited Journalist from Maharashtra is bestowed with three Honourary Doctorate in Journalism. Vaidehi has been an active journalist for the past 21 years, and is also the founding editor of an English daily tabloid – Afternoon Voice, a Marathi web portal – Mumbai Manoos, and The Democracy digital video news portal is her brain child. Vaidehi has three books in her name, "Sikhism vs Sickism", "Life Beyond Complications" and "Vedanti". She is an EC Council Certified Ethical Hacker, OSCP offensive securities, Certified Security Analyst and Licensed Penetration Tester that caters to her freelance jobs.
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