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Sony Pictures Moves Bombay High Court To Quash Defamation Case Filed By Bank Over 'Scam 1992 Series'

Sharmeen Hakim
21 Aug 2021 7:18 AM GMT
Sony Pictures Moves Bombay High Court To Quash Defamation Case Filed By Bank Over Scam 1992 Series
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The Bombay High Court on Friday orally asked the Pune Police not to take coercive steps against Sony Pictures Network India Pvt Ltd in an FIR, in which a bank claims to be defamed by the web series 'Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta story,' that aired on SonyLIV App. A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar briefly heard Sony's plea to quash the FIR registered...

The Bombay High Court on Friday orally asked the Pune Police not to take coercive steps against Sony Pictures Network India Pvt Ltd in an FIR, in which a bank claims to be defamed by the web series 'Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta story,' that aired on SonyLIV App.

A division bench of Justices SS Shinde and NJ Jamadar briefly heard Sony's plea to quash the FIR   registered on Karad Urban Co-operative Bank (KUCB) 's complaint and to stay the investigation in the interim.

In its FIR against Sony, the bank alleged that in the third episode of the web series, a logo was displayed in the background which resembles its trademark, causing severe damage to its financial, commercial and social reputation.

The FIR was registered on July 4, 2021, under sections 500 (defamation) of the IPC, sections 102, 107 (falsely applying for trademarks) of the Trademarks Act and Sections 66C and 43(b) of the Information Technology Act.

"The FIR is without any basis and cannot be sustained in law or on the facts of the instant case. The same has been filed at the behest of Respondent 2(Bank) with malafide intentions to arm-twist the petitioner(Sony) into some sort of underserved settlement."

Sony has refuted the allegations and claimed that 'Bank of Karaj' along with the contentious logo appears on a calendar in the background for a few seconds and it was used to show 'Bank of Karad,' considering their widely known involvement in the scam. The bank was placed under liquidation and later merged with the Bank of India in 1994.

In their petition, Sony further claimed that the series, which is an adaptation of the book titled 'The scam: Who won, who lost, who got away,' was produced by Applause Entertainment Private Limited and merely broadcast by them.

It added that there was a disclaimer at the beginning of every episode. In its plea, Sony levelled allegations regarding how the investigation is being conducted after the FIR was registered.

They said their authorized representative's statement was recorded, despite which he was repeatedly called by the police and threatened with arrest if they failed to pull down the series.

"The petitioner seek the indulgence and protection of this court because genuine and honest businesses and professionals like them ought not to be harassed and arm twisted by threats of criminal prosecution where a possible civil remedy, if at all lies," the plea states adding that the company has been booked for non-cognisable offences.

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