The Gujarat High Court on Thursday stayed the non-bailable arrest warrant against journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta that was issued by a lower court in relation to a criminal defamation case filed by Adani Group against him. The High Court passed an order suspending the warrant on the condition that Thakurta would give an undertaking to the court assuring to be present at the next hearing of the matter on February 9.
The HC asked Thakurta to file an undertaking
Thakurta, through his lawyer Anand Yagnik, had reportedly moved a petition before the High Court seeking the quashing of the order of arrest passed by the Magistrate First Class, Mundra, Kutch. A Bench of Justice BN Karia reportedly issued a notice to the original complainant Adani Power directing it to respond by February 20. The High Court directed Thakurta to appear before the Taluka court in Mundra where the case is being heard. He is expected to submit the undertaking the same day assuring that he would be present as and when the trial court would require his presence.
Thakurta had sought exemption from physical appearance citing old age and comorbid conditions
In his petition before the High Court, Thakurta had claimed that the Trial court straightaway issued the non-bailable warrant without issuing any summon or bailable warrant. He said that the summons that were issued by the Trial court directed him to appear were issued at a time when the Mundra court was closed and therefore he remained absent on three dates. He had also moved an application before the Trial court on January 4 seeking exemption from physical appearance in view of the fact that he resided in a different state and was a senior citizen with comorbid conditions making it difficult for him to travel amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
The defamation case against Thakurta
The Adani Group had filed a defamation case against Thakurta after he co-authored an an article, while holding the position of the Editor of Economical and Political Weekly (EPW), alleging that Modi government tweaked special economic zone rules that provided a benefit to Adani group to the tunes of Rs 500 crore. The article that was published in the EPW was taken down after the Adani Group sent them a legal notice. Thakurta hd to submit his resignation as the Editor of the EPW.
The article was later published in leftist site The Wire.