EPW Trustees Say Editor Thakurta Committed "Grave Impropriety Amounting to Breach of Trust"
THE CITIZEN BUREAU
NEW DELHI: The Sameeksha Trust has issued a statement confirming that Economic and Political Weekly editor Paranjoy Guha Thakurta had resigned over objections raised by the trustees that he should not have initiated a legal process on behalf of the Trust. And that the, “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”.
At a meeting the trustees conveyed to the editor 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 Citizen had reported the sudden resignation of the editor, following a legal notice sent to EPW on an expose on Adani Power’s windfall gains. See:EPW//Editor/Paranjoy/Thakurta/Quits/as/Trust/Bars/His/Byline,/Takes/Down/Adani/Power//
The full text of the statement issued by the trustees Professor Deepak Nayyar (Chairman), Mr. D.N. Ghosh (Managing Trustee), Professor Andre Beteille, Mr Deepak Parekh, Professor Romila Thapar, Professor Dipankar Gupta, Professor Rajeev Bhargava and Professor Shyam Menon, is as follows:
“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. “