Dhoni on the attack: Indian skipper files defamation suit against TV channels

Mar 18, 2014, 18:43 IST | PTI

Indian skipper MS Dhoni files defamation suit against Zee Media Corporation seeking Rs 100 crore as damages for allegedly telecasting "malicious" news that he was involved in betting, spot and match fixing of IPL matches

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday restrained Zee News and News Nation channels from telecasting any news linking India cricket captain M S Dhoni with the Indian Premier League (IPL) betting or fixing scam.

The interim order, effective for two weeks, was passed by Justice S Tamilvanan on a defamation suit filed by Dhoni claiming Rs 100 crore damages from the Zee Media Corporation for allegedly telecasting "malicious" news that he was involved in betting, spot and match fixing of IPL matches.

"I am of the view that there is a prima facie case and the balance of convenience is also in favour of the plaintiff. Hence, interim injection granted for a period of two weeks," the judge said in his order after perusing Dhoni's affidavit.

MS Dhoni
MS Dhoni

He issued notice to defendants Zee Media Corporation Limited, Zee News Editor and Business Head Sudhir Chaudary, IPS officer G Sampath Kumar (who initially probed the IPL betting scam) and News Nation network private limited.

Dhoni, in his suit, submitted that the defendants had been carrying highly defamatory, scandalous and libellous false reports and statements since February 11, 2014.

The first and second defendants Zee Media Corporation Limited (Zee News) and Sudhir Chaudary, Editor and Business Head of Zee News Channel, Essel Studios, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, in collusion with the third defendant IPS officer G Sampath Kumar have been telecasting and broadcasting and posting in their websites false reports insinuating that Dhoni was involved in illegal activities of betting, match fixing and spot fixing.

Similarly, defendant no.4, News Nation network private limited (News National channel) Noida, UP, joined the tirade against Dhoni and later on went to the extent of stating that Dhoni was summoned by the Tamil Nadu police, which was also utterly false, the affidavit stated.

He charged that actions were done with an intention to project Dhoni as an object of hate and ridicule to the general public.

The general public, especially IPL fans of Chennai Super Kings in Chennai, have been negatively influenced by the malicious false reports, it claimed.

The sole agenda of the defendants was somehow to malign and destroy the reputation of the plaintiff in the eyes of the millions of his fans and cricket lovers all over the world.

The plaintiff has filed the suit because his fundamental right and personal rights had been breached by the telecast and broadcast of the malicious news.

He sought a permanent injunction restraining the defendants, their associations, sister concerns, agents, officers, correspondents, employees or any other person or entity in print or electronic media or via internet or otherwise from publishing/republishing or in any other manner circulating any news insinuating or denigrating his integrity and honesty as a cricketer except the publication of the news of the exact judicial order if any passed by the court.

Damages are to be paid jointly and severally by all the defendants for an amount of Rs 100 crore, the affidavit said.

Zee rebuts Dhoni's allegations, says moved SC with evidences

New Delhi: Zee Media Corporation Limited on Tuesday vehemently rebutted the allegations in the defamation civil suit filed by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the Madras High Court, where he alleged Zee news of telecasting "malicious" news about him.

The news channel maintained that it hasn’t telecast or shown any footage or dialogue to malign the image of Dhoni.

The channel clarified that it had telecast the story that was based on revelation made by Vindu Dara Singh and IPS officer Sampat Kumar during the sting operation which was telecast on February 24 and 28, 2014 respectively by Zee Media Corporation.

"Zee Media Corporation Limited as a responsible news channel has ideated the story based on the said sting and also on the report filed by Justice Mudgal to the Honorable Supreme Court of India which was widely reported by various media organisations including print media," the channel said in a statement.

"The news channel has done the sting operations based on the facts which were in the public domain as series of stories were already filed/published by various media organisations from February 10 to 1, 2014.

"To further clarify the said issue, Zee Media Corporation Limited has already moved an intervention application along with the evidence in its possession before the Honorable Supreme Court of India in the pending SLP filed by Cricket Association of Bihar," it added.

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