Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd (BCCL), parent company of Times Now news channel firstly filed a Police Complaint against Arnab Goswami, it’s former Editor-in-Chief and Prema Sridevi, Journalist for cheating and also furthr matter with Delhi High Court for infringement of Copyrights and breach of Contract. A complaint has been registered in connection with a Lalu Prasad-Shahabuddin audio tape and alleged conversations between Prema Sridevi (former news reporter of Times Now) and the late Sunanda Pushkar and their househelp Narayan — which were played on Republic TV on May 6 and May 8, 2017 respectively .
The matter – IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI – CS(COMM) 370/2017 – BENNETT COLEMAN & COMPANY LIMITED versus ARG OUTLIER MEDIA ASIANET NEWS PRIVATE LTD & ORS. It is the TimesNow’s case that the ex-employees of the Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd, have worked with the programme THE NEWS HOUR on TIMES NOW Channel. It is averred in the plaint that defendant nos. 2 and 3 had signed and subscribed to an employment contract with the Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd wherein one of the conditions in the contract was the maintenance of confidentiality of employment activities, trade secrets, company information as well as an acknowledgement admitting to the intellectual property rights held, possessed and controlled by the Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd of all work in any form whatsoever, manual, digital etc. done and developed by them in course of their employment.
It is stated in the plaint that Mr Arnab Goswami gave his resignation from the Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd on 1st November, 2016 and his last working day was 18th November, 2016. While Prema Sridevi resigned on 8th December, 2016 and her last working day was 7th February, 2017. It is the TimesNow’s case that on 6th May, 2017 they launched a news channel by the name Republic TV and Arnab Goswami is the Managing Director of said TV channel.
On the launch of the news channel Republic TV on 6th May, 2017 the first story related to an audio conversation between Mr. Lalu Prasad Yadav and Mr. Shabuddin. He further states that on 8th May, 2017, the defendants’ channel Republic TV aired a story pertaining to an audio recording of a conversation on phone between Prema Sridevi and Late Ms. Sunanda Pushkar, wife of Mr. Shashi Tharoor that took between 16th and 17th January, 2014. That the aforesaid audio conversations were recorded during the course of the employment of these two with the Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd and before their resignation. Consequently, Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd has the exclusive right over the said audio conversations as they form an integral part of the data base created by the Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd.
Bennett Colemen & Co Ltd contend that they have committed theft of the said intellectual property of TIMES NOW whilst in service of TIMES NOW channel and in breach of contract of employment had converted to their own use for airing on Republic TV the aforesaid intellectual property of plaintiff thereby dishonestly misappropriated and converted to their own use the said intellectual property of TIMES NOW channel.
Earlier, Times Group had filed an FIR at Mumbai against Arnab Goswami and his colleague Prema Sridevi, who was earlier with Times Now, under Section 378, read with Sections 379, 403, 405, 406, 409, 411, 414 and 418 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Sections 66-B, 72 and 72-A of the Information Technology Act 2000, read with Section 34 and 120-B of the IPC.