Bennett, Coleman & Co. (BCC) has lodged a complaint on 17th May, 2017 against Arnab Goswami and Prema Sridevi for the commission of offences of theft, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of property and infringement of intellectual property rights of BCC by using the same on Republic TV on 6th and 8th May, 2017.
BCC owns and operates television channels in India with an overseas presence as well. One of the channels owned and broadcasted by BCC is Times Now, an English news channel which was launched on 31st January, 2006.
BCC owns intellectual assets in the form of stories, audio-video content, documents, tapes, etc., gathered by its team of reporters and journalists during its news gathering and broadcasting operations.
Goswami (ex-editor-in-chief, Times Now) has on 6th May, 2017 launched his English News channel Republic TV. On the first day of its launch, Republic TV carried an expose on politician, Lalu Prasad Yadav, in which audio tapes containing alleged phone conversations between the ex-chief minister of Bihar and Shahabuddin, while he was still in prison, were played out.
Another expose which was broadcasted on Republic TV by Goswami on 8th May, 2017 was pertaining to audio tapes of phone conversations between Sridevi (ex-news reporter, Times Now) and the Late Sunanda Pushkar (wife of Congress leader, Shashi Tharoor) and their house help, Narayan.
According to the press note shared with us, both these exposes displayed material (in the form of audio tapes of phone conversations) that was procured and accessed while Goswami and Sridevi were in the employment of Times Now. An internal inquiry by BCC has confirmed the same.
Moreover, according to the press note Goswami and Sridevi have admitted and claimed on Republic TV that the audio conversation in the Pushkar case was in their possession for the last two years when they were in their previous organisation, i.e., with Times Now.
Goswami and Sridevi have been accused of using and converting for their benefit the aforesaid intellectual property of Times Now in a willfull and deliberate manner thereby dishonestly misappropriated the said intellectual property which is punishable U/Sec.403 of I.P.C. and several other provisions under applicable laws.