The Delhi High Court had issued a notice to Arnab Goswami for the breach of employment contract and the misuse of intellectual property of Times Now the news channel .Arnab Goswami was the former Editor of Times Now, a channel owned by the Bennett, Coleman & Company Ltd (BCCL) and has recently launched his own English news channel.
BCCL is India’s largest media house that along with Times Now also publishes the Times of India, The Economic Times, Navbharat Times and a host of other properties, BCCL recently filed a criminal complaint against ArnabGoswami, stating that audio tapes played during two stories aired on Republic TV on Late Sunanda Pushkar and Lalu Prasad Yadav were ‘obtained and retrieved’ by Arnab Goswami and PremaSridevi former Times Now reporte) while they were still employed by Times Now.
On its launch on May 6, Republic TV carried out an ‘expose’ on Lalu Prasad Yadav, where phone conversations between the former Bihar Chief Minister and Shahabuddin a member of parliament , while the latter was still in jail was aired by Republic TV .
Another ‘expose’ was carried out by Republic TV on May 8 in which the audio of conversations between PremaSridevi and the late Sunanda Pushkar and their domestic help Narayan was aired.
BCCL’s internal inquiry indicated that both these ‘exposes’ used material that were obtained and accessed by Goswami and Sridevi as employees of Times Now during their course of employment . The two had admitted that the audio of the conversation with the late Sunanda Pushkar and her domestic help was in their custody for the past 2 years.
M K Anand, CEO of Times Now, says that “the management discovered these thefts only when it was aired on Republic TV. It is sad that a man of his stature has turned into a thief and stolen content from Times Now to launch his own channel. Arnab intentionally chose not to air the tapes while in Times Now and stole them to do a grand launch of Republic to get high viewership. This obviously was well planned since he used both these stories in the first three days of the launch.”
Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd lodged a complaint against Arnab Goswami and journalist PremaSridevi for infringing its copyright.
According to sources, BCCL has filed a complaint with the Azad Maidan Police Station in Mumbai under sections 378 of theft , with sections 379 covers the punishment for theft , 403 – Misappropriation of property , 405 – Criminal breach of trust , with sections 406- Criminal breach of trust , 409, 411, 414 and 418 of the Indian Penal Code, besides Section 66-B, 72 and 72-A of the IT Act, 2000.
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.
Arnab 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 still behind bars.
Another story was aired on Republic TV on May 8, in which audio tapes of phone conversations between Sridevi and the late Sunanda Pushkarwife of Congress leader Shashi Tharoorand their house help Narayan was broadcast.
Both these stories displayed material in the form of audio tapes of phone conversations that were procured and retrieved while both Goswami and Sridevi were in the employment of Times Now, according to the complaint.
An internal inquiry by BCCL has established that these tapes were acquired and in possession of Goswami and Sridevi while they were in the service of BCCL. 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 complaint alleges that Goswami and Sridevi have wilfully, intentionally 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.
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.