After OCCRP scribes, 2 FT India journalists get SC interim protection over Adani report summons

Their lawyer told the court that the Adani report wasn’t even written by them. The court will hear the matter on December 1.

WrittenBy:Sumedha Mittal
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The Supreme Court has granted interim protection against any coercive action to two Financial Times journalists, who had approached the court against summons issued by the Gujarat police.

Police had called Benjamin Nicholas Brooke Parkin and Chloe Nina Cornish for a preliminary inquiry in connection with a complaint by an “investor” – about an investigation into the Adani Group which Financial Times had published in collaboration with the OCCRP and Guardian in August.

However, senior advocate Siddharth Agarwal, representing the two journalists, told the bench that the petitioners are not even the journalists who wrote the report in question, according to LiveLaw. The lawyer also claimed that the journalists were yet to receive a copy of the FIR.

Chloe is FT’s Mumbai correspondent while Benjamin is a correspondent in Delhi. The Financial Times report on Adani was by Dan Mccrum and John Reed. The petition, which was filed by advocate Sonakshi Malhan, was mentioned for listing on Thursday. The Gujarat police crime branch was the respondent.

Granting interim protection against any coercive action, the bench of Justices BR Gavai and PK Mishra directed the petitioners to cooperate with the police inquiry. The matter will now be heard, along with a similar petition by OCCRP journalists over the Adani report, on December 1.

In October, OCCRP partner journalists Ravi Nair and Anand Mangnale had received notices from the Ahmedabad crime branch, asking them to appear for a preliminary inquiry. The journalists had then filed writ petitions challenging the notices.

The Supreme Court had granted Nair and Mangnale interim protection from arrest by the Gujarat police last week. The court had given the Gujarat government two weeks to respond. An article published on the OCCRP website on Wednesday said the court was likely to hear the matter again in December.

The OCCRP article also said that reporters who worked on the story “have been targeted with state intimidation and surveillance attempts”.

“Last month, OCCRP partner journalists Ravi Nair and Anand Mangnale were summoned by the crime branch of the Ahmedabad police in Modi’s home state of Gujarat to appear in person for questioning in a preliminary probe based on a complaint by a man identified only as ‘an investor’ who claimed the investigation was ‘grossly malicious’. It is unclear why this is a police matter.”

The OCCRP-led investigation in August had come nearly seven months after US-based investment research firm Hindenburg published a report alleging that the Adani group engaged in a stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme. 

Meanwhile, a Financial Times spokesperson told Newslaundry, “Our reporting is accurate and carefully prepared. We stand by the reporting of our journalists.”

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