Karad Urban Co-Operative Bank has filed a defamation case against Sony Pictures Network India and others alleging that the makers of the web series ‘Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story’ used the logo pf the bank without permission and caused financial and social hardships for them.
Consequently, Sony Pictures Network India moved the Bombay High Court seeking the dismissal of the FIR and an interim stay on the probe. Earlier, the Pune Police had booked Sony Live Channels, Applause Entertainment and two YouTube channels under section 500 of the Indian Penal Code.
Sony Pictures contended that the FIR was ‘baseless and absurd’ and claimed that they were only streaming the show which was owned and produced by Applause Entertainment. The show is said to be an adaptation of the book The Scam: Who won, Who lost, Who got away.
The petition said, “However, for ulterior motives, the complainant appears to have zeroed in with a laser beam on the fleeting display of a logo appearing on a calendar at the back of actors in a scene and registered the FIR…The FIR is filed at the behest of the respondent Bank with a motive of coercing the petitioner with ostensible deep pockets into an undeserved settlement. Allegations made are absurd and baseless and are an abuse of the process of law.”
It also claimed that the ‘Bank of Karaj’ used in the series was a pseudonym for ‘Bank of Karad’, whose alleged involvement in the scam was confirmed by the Reserve Bank of India. “There was no intention or conspiracy, as is being hinted at, to malign the name of the respondent bank,” said the petition. The petition also said that all necessary disclaimers were added.
“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 petition added further.
The Bombay High Court bench has asked the police to not take any coercive action until the next date of the hearing, which is on Monday.