Zee Telefilms, T-Series bury the hatchet

MUMBAI: The on-going legal conflict between Zee Telefilms’ ETC and T-Series has finally been resolved. The promos of T-Series’ latest films Jaan-e-Mann and Don, which are due for release on 20 October, are being aired on ETC since a few days now.


Speaking exclusively to Businessofcinema.com T-Series chairman and managing director Bhushan Kumar says, “On 9 October, the legal complications of ETC and T-Series were sorted.”


Super Cassettes Industries Limited (SCIL) lawyer Hiren Mehta adds, “The present valuation of SCIL is in excess of Rs 30 billion (Rs 3,000 crores), so it is inconceivable that the company will resort to alleged unfair means for a meager amount of Rs 57.3 million (Rs 5.73 crores).”


Allegations had been made to the effect that SCIL forged signatures of two persons namely Jagajit Singh Kohli (ETC CEO) and Prashant Chothani (owner of Celebrities Management Ltd.) in order to deprive ETC of money amounting to Rs 57.3 million.


Explaining the issue further Kumar says, “ETC did some infringements and their top officials either left the company or they were suspended. After that we had some claims, which they could not give as it was signed by the officials who were no longer serving ETC. So contrary to clearing our claims, they blamed us saying that we had forged the signatures of the officials.”


He further adds, “All channels including Sony and Star One pay us money for using our software in their programs like Indian Idol and Nach Balliye. Even Channel [V] and MTV pay us if they want our songs for their channels. So why should ETC be an exception to this? Since we have had a good relationship with ETC, we told them that we should respect copyright and clear the amount due.”


The alleged agreement dated 15 May, 2006, being referred to, is a document on letter head of Celebrities Management Pvt. Ltd and executed in tri-partite. As regards the signatures being forged, the said allegation has not been put to test by any expert agency such as CFSL.


However, SCIL has independently obtained an opinion dated 6 October, 2006 from handwriting expert, which states that the signatures of the above named persons on the document dated 15 October, 2006 match with signatures of these persons on document dated 15 September, 2005.


The compromise has been reached between the parties mutually and amicably for furthering the business relationship. However, if the said compromise is not followed by the other party in its letter and spirit, SCIL shall be constrained to start pursuing the legal remedies available.


Clause (4) of the MOU signed between the two parties dated 9 October, 2006, (a copy of which, is available with Businessofcinema.com), states that:


“SCIL allegedly claimed an amount of Rs 5,73,50,000 to be paid to them by ETC Channel Network Ltd. on the basis of alleged agreement/Leter dated 15-5-2006. However, there is no such agreement/Letter dated 15-5-2006 on the records of ETC Channel Network Ltd. and therefore ETC Channel Network has exercised legal rights and filed compliant before EOW for commission of an act of forgery, Cheating and Criminal Conspiracy against CMD SCIL and pursuant to the same an FIR has been registered at Osiwara Police Station against CMD Mr Bhushan Kumar and others of SCIL for commission of offence as mentioned herein above.”


It further adds, “However in lieu of the above settlement ETC will approach appropriate authority of EOW with a request to stop the proceedings against SCIL and to file the complaint to records. Further ETC will take steps inter-alia for not pursuing the FIR registered with Oshiwara Police Station within reasonable time and the case closed.”