“Truth is Your Best Defense”: Paranjoy Guha Thakurta on His Resignation From the EPW, the Sameeksha Trust and the Adani Story

On 18 July, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta resigned from his post as editor of the Economic and Political Weekly. Priyanka Parashar/Mint/Getty Images
26 July, 2017

On 18 July, the senior journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta resigned from his post as editor of the journal, the Economic and Political Weekly. Guha Thakurta’s resignation followed a meeting with the board members of the Sameeksha Trust, which owns and runs the EPW. In the meeting, the members of the board asked Guha Thakurta to take down an article that was published in the journal in June, concerning Adani Power, a subsidiary of the Adani Group. The article, which Guha Thakurta had reported and written along with three others, examined whether the power conglomerate received an undue refund of nearly Rs 500 crore from the finance ministry under the Narendra Modi government. A lawyer representing the Adani group had sent a notice to the EPW, claiming that the article, along with another report published in the journal, was defamatory towards the group and its chairman, Gautam Adani. The letter further demanded that the June article be taken down. Guha Thakurta had employed a lawyer to respond to this notice on behalf of the EPW. Both the notice and the EPW’s response were then published on its website—along with the article, they were taken down following the board’s directive to Guha Thakurta.

News reports following Guha Thakurta’s resignation indicated that the members of the board were unhappy with his decision to engage a lawyer. Further, reports noted, the board members told Guha Thakurta that they were seeking to employ a co-editor, who would work in conjunction with him. On 20 July, the board of trustees released a statement in which they described Guha Thakurta’s decision to employ a lawyer without informing them a “grave impropriety.”

Guha Thakurta is the second editor to resign from the EPW in two years. His predecessor, C Rammanohar Reddy, held the position for over a decade, but resigned due to disagreements with the board. Both Reddy and Guha Thakurta’s resignations have seen a strong response from prominent academics as well as the EPW’s readers, who have expressed their concerns regarding the workings of the board.

Hartosh Singh Bal, the political editor of The Caravan, met with Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. The two discussed the circumstances surrounding the latter’s appointment, his interactions with the board during his tenure as editor, as well as the events preceding his resignation.