Sony Pictures move Bombay HC to quash FIR by bank over Sam 1992 web series

The bank, in its FIR against Sony Pictures Network India Pvt Ltd, the owner of the SonyLIV application, has alleged that in the third episode of the web series, a logo was displayed in the background which “resembles” its trademark, thereby causing serious damage to its “financial, commercial and social reputation”.   

The Bombay High Court, while hearing a plea filed by Sony Pictures seeking quashing of an FIR registered against them over the web series “Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta story”, directed Pune Police to not take any coercive action till Monday in the criminal defamation case registered by Karad Urban Co-operative Bank (KUCB).

The bank, in its FIR against Sony Pictures Network India Pvt Ltd, the owner of the SonyLIV application, has alleged that in the third episode of the web series, a logo was displayed in the background which “resembles” its trademark, thereby causing serious damage to its “financial, commercial and social reputation”.

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Sameer Nair, the CEO of the Applause Entertainment Pvt Limited which has produced the web series has also approached the High Court seeking quashing of FIR.

The FIR was registered in July this year at Sahakar Nagar Police station in Pune for offences punishable for defamation under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and provisions of the Trademarks Act, along with charges under Information Technology Act.

The petitioner network said that it was merely broadcasting a series which was owned and produced by Applause Entertainment and it was a cinematic adaptation of the book titled “The Scam: Who won, Who lost, Who got away”.

The plea said that a disclaimer against all liabilities towards the content was published at the beginning of every episode of the concerned series, which clearly stated that the series bears no resemblance to any actual person.

“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,” the petition read.

It added that the “Bank of Karaj” used in the series was a pseudonym for Bank of Karad and their alleged involvement in the scam was in public domain and confirmed by the RBI.

“There was no intention or conspiracy, as is being hinted at, to malign the name of the respondent bank,” the petition said.

To its plea of interim relief, the division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N J Jamadar orally directed the Pune Police to not take any coercive action against the petitioner till Monday, August 23, when it will hear the plea to consider urgent reliefs.

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