EPW publisher distances magazine from ex-editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta over Adani lawsuit

New Delhi: Sameeksha Trust, which publishes the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW) magazine, said on Thursday that its editor who recently quit under a cloud had "unilaterally" initiated legal proceedings against a business house after being served a legal notice over two articles.

Former editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta took the step while keeping the office-bearers of the trust in the dark, Sameeksha Trust said in a statement.

In response, Guha Thakurta said the trustees were not sharing the "full picture" that led to his resignation.

The EPW articles claimed favours were given to the Adani Group by the Centre and that it evaded taxes. In June, Adani served a legal notice on Sameeksha, Guha Thakurta and three co-authors of the articles, threatening legal action against them. The articles have since been taken down from the EPW website.

File image of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. Getty Images

File image of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta. Getty Images

"Mr Guha Thakurta initiated a legal process ostensibly on behalf of the Sameeksha Trust without informing, let alone obtaining approval of, the Trust although such a decision was not in the domain of the Editor to make," said the statement.


"The legal reply (sent on the instruction of Mr Guha Thakurta) falsely began with a statement that it was at the instruction of the Sameeksha Trust. This reply and the legal notice were placed on the EPW website, even before the Chairman and Managing Trustee were informed, so that the Trustees were completely unaware of these developments," the statement said.

The trust described Guha Thakurta's step as a "grave impropriety amounting to a breach of trust". The same was conveyed to the veteran journalist, the statement said.

"Thereupon, Mr Guha Thakurta submitted his resignation. It was accepted by the Trustees after due deliberation," it said.

Guha Thakurta told PTI that the statement issued by the trust about the interaction that the trustees had with him on 18 July "does not give the full picture of what transpired" that day.

He said that he had acknowledged his "procedural lapse" of unilaterally taking the legal route, and had also apologised to the trust for the same.

"To set the record in context, I wish to state the interaction between the trustees and me went beyond what I consider a procedural lapse on my part in failing to seek the prior consent and approval of the trust before engaging the services of a lawyer to respond to a notice that were served upon me and my co-authors," he said.


Sameeksha Trust, an independent non-partisan institution, publishes research-based academic articles and evidence-based public policy critiques, providing analysis and independent commentary on topical issues.

"There is no question of the Sameeksha Trust ... bowing to external pressures of any kind. It never has. It is guided solely by the objectives of maintaining the ethos, quality and standards of EPW, while ensuring spotless propriety and ethics in the working of its staff," said the statement.

Following is the full text of the statement issued by the Sameeksha Trust on the circumstances leading to the resignation of Paranjoy Guha Thakurta as the editor of the Economic and Political Weekly (EPW):

"A legal notice was served on the Sameeksha Trust, the editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta and his co-authors, in connection with an article published in Economic and Political Weekly (EPW). Mr Guha Thakurta initiated a legal process ostensibly on behalf of the Sameeksha Trust without informing, let alone obtaining approval of, the Trust although such a decision was not in the domain of the Editor to make.

"The legal reply (sent on the instruction of Mr Guha Thakurta) falsely began with a statement that it was at the instruction of the Sameeksha Trust. This reply and the legal notice were placed on the EPW website, even before the Chairman and Managing Trustee were informed, so that the Trustees were completely unaware of these developments.

"On hearing about the matter, a special meeting of the Sameeksha Trust was convened on 18 July 2017 to discuss issues arising. After discussion, it was conveyed to Mr Guha Thakurta that he had committed a grave impropriety amounting to a breach of trust, in taking a unilateral decision on a matter where any decision could be taken only by the Sameeksha Trust as the governing board. Thereupon, Mr Guha Thakurta submitted his resignation. It was accepted by the Trustees after due deliberation.

"The EPW is a unique institution which has earned its reputation as an independent,impartial, journal over five decades, for publishing scholarly articles - research-based academic writing and evidence-based public policy critiques -and providing incisive analysis together with independent commentary on the issues of the time.

"These are its unique attributes. There is no question of the Sameeksha Trust, an independent non-partisan institution, bowing to external pressures of any kind. It never has. It is guided solely by the objectives of maintaining the ethos, quality and standards of EPW, while ensuring spotless propriety and ethics in the working of its staff."


Published Date: Jul 20, 2017 06:49 pm | Updated Date: Jul 20, 2017 06:57 pm



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