In a further exhibition of political and legal power, multi-billionaire Gautam Adani has secured a warrant for the arrest of one of India’s most renowned and respected journalists, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. It follows a series of other attempts to silence critics, including court actions against climate campaigner Ben Pennings and an Indian YouTuber; a request to the Indian Government to close down an anti-Adani twitterstorm; and an apparent attempt to close down the AdaniWatch website.
A court in Adani’s home state of Gujarat has issued the warrant which arises from a defamation case mounted by Adani against Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, the doyen of investigative journalists in India.
The Adani Group had filed the defamation suit following his June 2017 article on a ‘Rupees 500 crore bonanza’ ($100 million) the group got from the government. The story was originally published in, and then withdrawn from, the Economic and Political Weekly. The story remains published in The Wire.
‘This is a SLAPP (strategic lawsuit against public participation) writ aimed at both silencing the journalist and sending a shiver of fear through the media to halt any genuine investigation into Adani’s commercial empire,’ Bob Brown said. SLAPP writs are banned in many states of the USA and in the Australian Capital Territory.
This latest attack on free speech by Adani follows Adani’s lawsuits against climate campaigner Ben Pennings and an Indian YouTuber. In yet another attempt to silence critics, the Adani Group wrote to India’s central government in December 2020 seeking a crackdown of the ‘utmost severity’ on the supposed instigators of a Twitterstorm critical of Adani.
The arrest warrant comes not long after the Bob Brown Foundation received a threat to close down its AdaniWatch website following a complaint to the registrar of its domain name by an IT security firm, presumably acting on behalf of an unnamed client (emails sent to BBF on 7 and 9 January – see below).
AdaniWatch coordinator Geoff Law said that Adani is clearly spooked by the wave of protest against the group’s activities in India, where communities are opposing pro-corporate farm laws, moves to turn Goa into a coal hub, massive new port developments, and the takeover of indigenous lands for coal plants.
Further information: Geoff Law 0409 944891