IIFA sued for 7 million dollars

Apr 16, 2014, 08:36 IST | Shubha Shetty-Saha

Travel agent Akarsh Kolaprath, who runs a Florida-based enterprise, has filed a lawsuit against Wizcraft, the organisers of the 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA awards) for alleged breach of trust.

Bipasha Basu, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit at a recent press meet announcing IIFA Awards 2013
Bipasha Basu, Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit at a recent press meet announcing IIFA Awards 2013. Pic/Satyajit Desai

Kolaprath claims that about three years ago, he struck a deal with Andre Timmins and Viraf Sarkari of Wizcraft through his family company, 7M tours. As part of the deal, he was apparently asked to help them out with co-ordination of finances and taking the award ceremony to the United States in 2014.

Kolaprath claims to have spent the last three years and around $2,65,000 on consulting and making travel arrangements for the organisation. In return, Wizcraft apparently promised him 3 percent of the entire profit.

Kolaprath says that he even managed hotel bookings for the event, which is going to be held from April 24 to 27. It seems that the event organisers have abruptly changed their mind and decided to do their own bookings and arrangements thereby cancelling his services. Kolaprath has now sued Wizcraft for USD 7 million for leaving him in the lurch without giving him adequate reasons.

Akarsh Kolaprath's claims are: 1. Wizcraft/IIFA promised to pay him 3 percent of the anticipated $17.5 million in revenue that the organisation expected to earn from hosting the awards. 2. Wizcraft/IIFA further promised to pay him all revenues earned in excess of $17.5 million. 3. His company, 7M tours, reported a loss of more than $400,000 in hotel cancellation fees due to change of dates.

Talking to hitlist from Florida, Kolaprath said, “This has affected us very badly; we have been working on the whole thing. I was the one who introduced them (Wizcraft) to the sponsors. But suddenly after we had done all the arrangements, we got to know that they were dealing directly with the sponsors and wanted me out of the picture. Their intention is not right.” He has now asked for a stay on the event till this issue is cleared. “They have been trying to reach some kind of settlement but I will go ahead with my case,” Kolaprath said.

When contacted, Sabbas Joseph, director of Wizcraft and IIFA, sent a statement on behalf of his company. The statement read, “The claims made by Akarsh/&7M tours are false and frivolous. It is a concocted story lacking any substance. Since the matter is sub judice, we shall respond to these claims appropriately before the court.”

Controversy's child?

The brand ambassador for IIFA since its inception in 2000, Amitabh Bachchan was apparently miffed with the organisers in 2011 as not only did they decide to host the event in Sri Lanka without consulting him, but they also signed on Salman Khan to host the same. Big B had tweeted then, “Not coming to Toronto IIFA... IIFA says my services are not required.”

Interestingly, Sallu received flak for agreeing to attend IIFA that year. When Vice President of Tamil Film Producers’ Council, A Prabhakaran, asked for a ban on the actor, Sallu allegedly replied that he didn’t mind being banned.

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