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Times Now files complaint against Arnab Goswami, accuses Republic TV of IPR violation

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Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL) has lodged a complaint against Arnab Goswami, the former Editor-in-Chief of its television news channel Times Now, and its former reporter Prema Sridevi alleging that they had committed offences of theft, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of property and infringement of BCCL’s intellectual property rights (IPR) by using material collected while they were in its employment on the new channel Republic TV on May 6 and 8.

In its complaint, filed at the Azad Maidan Police Station here, the company said it owned and operated various television channels in India with a substantial presence overseas. These include Times Now, an English news channel which, it claimed, was the market leader in the English News segment and “continues to create trends as the unbeatable leader in this space with path breaking stories and news coverage.”

BCCL said it owned several intellectual assets in the form of stories, audio-video content, documents, tapes, and so on, gathered by its team of reporters and journalists during its news gathering and broadcasting operations.

Mr. Goswami launched his English News channel Republic TV on May 6 and, on the first day, the channel carried an expose on former Bihar Chief Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad Yadav. The report included audio tapes containing telephone conversations between Mr. Yadav and former Siwan MP Mohammed Shahabuddin, while he was still in prison.

The complaint said Republic TV had, on May 8, in another report, carried audio tapes of telephone conversations between Ms. Prema, now with the new channel, and the late Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Congress MP and former Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, and their domestic help Narayan.

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BCCL contended that both these reports used material, in the form of audio tapes of telephone conversations, procured and accessed while Mr. Goswami and Ms. Prema were in the employment of Times Now. It said that an internal inquiry had established that the tapes were procured and in the possession of Mr. Goswami and Ms. Prema while they were in the service of BCCL.

The complaint noted that Mr. Goswami and Ms. Prema had, on Republic TV, said that the audio tape of the conversation in the Sunanda Pushkar case was in their possession for the last two years, that is when they were in their previous organisation Times Now.

“Mr. Goswami and Ms. 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 U/Sec. 403 of I.P.C. and several other provisions under applicable laws,” the company said.

“BCCL has therefore taken steps to defend its rights and protect its intellectual property against such misuse,” it added.

NNN

 

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