Alleging slander, Sushant's friend seeks Rs. 200cr from Republic-TV, Goswami
Film producer Sandip Ssingh served a defamation notice to Republic TV and its editor-in-chief, Arnab Goswami, for maligning his name while covering the Sushant Singh Rajput death story and has claimed Rs. 200 crore as compensation. Putting the notice on social media, Ssingh said it was "payback time" and that "enough is enough." They were given 15 days to adhere to the notice.
The notice, dated October 14, said that Republic TV ran defamatory news pieces against Ssingh, despite being aware that he and Sushant knew each other from their struggling days. Republic TV's correspondents sent several texts to Ssingh, the notice claimed, with criminal intent. They wanted to extort money, read the second point of the notice. The noticees blamed Ssingh without evidence, it was alleged.
It was written that Republic TV and Goswami demanded Ssingh's arrest, falsely imputed him on a daily basis, and intentionally interfered in the investigation of CBI and Mumbai Police. "You have been completely exposed as a key conspirator of airing malicious contents as part of propaganda to malign my client with the sole motive to extort money and grab TRP," read the notice.
The notice claimed that Ssingh was told that unless he offered financial help, Goswami would continue airing news items that might label him as Sushant's "murderer." "The said advice of your employee proved to be correct after you continued with slander news items for weeks to besmirch the image of my client," the notice read and also revealed incidents when Ssingh was targeted.
The noticees were called upon to withdraw all malicious content against Ssingh and tender an unconditional apology in writing or in a video format. "The said apology should include the true facts about the integrity of my client as can be evidenced from his impeccable track record," the notice read, adding that Ssingh must be compensated with Rs. 200 crore.
Goswami and his channel were asked to comply within 15 days of receiving the notice. "I have clear instructions to take strict legal action against you noticees by filing civil as well as criminal cases in appropriate court of law which shall be solely at your own risks, costs, and consequences," advocate Rajesh Kumar from R&R Law Associates wrote, warning the noticees.
Ssingh's notice came days after 34 Bollywood producers sued Republic TV and Times Now for maligning the industry's image with their SSR reportage. They had approached Delhi High Court. The plaintiffs named Goswami, Republic's Consulting Editor Pradeep Bhandari as well as Times Now's Navika Kumar and Rahul Shivshankar. In their programs, the journalists called Bollywood a drug hub, among other things.
The filmmakers raised an objection to the usage of words like "dirt," "filth," "scum," "druggies," and expressions such as "it is Bollywood where the dirt needs to be cleaned," "filth and scum of the underbelly of Bollywood," "this is the dirtiest industry in the country," and "cocaine and LSD-drenched Bollywood." They demanded channels to abide by the 1994 program code and withdraw "defamatory content."