Srinagar: Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL) on Tuesday lodged a complaint against Arnab Goswami, the founder of recently launched English news channel Republic TV, and journalist Prema Sridevi for infringing its copyright, media reports said on Wednesday.
BCCL has filed a complaint with the Azad Maidan Police Station in Mumbai under sections 378, with sections 379, 403, 405, with sections 406, 409, 411, 414 and 418 of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 66-B, 72 and 72-A of the IT Act, 2000, the report said. The complaint alleges commission of offences of theft, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of property and infringement of IPR of BCCL by using the same on Republic TV on multiple occasions on May 6 and May 8, 2017, the report added.
Goswami, who was earlier serving as editor-in-chief of Times Networks’ flagship English news channel Times Now, launched his own news channel Republic TV on May 6. On the first day of its launch, the new channel carried what it termed as an ‘expose’ on Lalu Prasad in which audio tapes containing phone conversations between the former chief minister of Bihar and Shahabuddin, allegedly while the latter was in prison, were played out. Shahabuddin, a former MP, is currently behind bars, the report said.
Another story was aired on Republic TV on May 8, in which audio tapes of phone conversations between Sridevi (former news reporter of Times Now) and the late Sunanda Pushkar (wife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoor) and their house help Narayan was broadcast, the report added.
Both these stories displayed material — in the form of audio tapes of phone conversations — that was procured and accessed while both Goswami and Sridevi were in the employment of Times Now, according to the complaint, the report added.
An internal inquiry by BCCL has established that these tapes were procured and in possession of Goswami and Sridevi while they were in the service of BCCL, the report said, adding that the BCCL confirmed filing a criminal complaint against Goswami and Sridevi.
BCCL’s complaint points out that both Goswami and Sridevi have admitted and claimed on-air that the audio conversation in the Sunanda Pushkar case aired on May 8, were in their possession for the last two years when they were in their previous organisation i.e. Times Now, the report added.
The complaint alleges that Goswami and Sridevi have wilfully, deliberately and with knowledge converted for their benefit and used the aforesaid intellectual property of Times Now and thereby dishonestly misappropriated the said intellectual property, thereby committing the offence of criminal misappropriation of property punishable under section 403 of IPC and several other provisions under applicable laws, the report added.
BCCL, which owns and operates various television channels under Times Network, is also the publisher of The Economic Times. Its English news channel Times Now, launched on January 31, 2006, is the market leader in its segment.