New Delhi: Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd, which owns the Times Now news channel, filed a criminal complaint against senior journalists Arnab Goswami and Prema Sridevi — former Times Now employees who now work at Goswami’s newly-launched venture Republic TV — for ‘theft, criminal breach of trust, misappropriation of property and infringement of intellectual property rights’.
In its complaint to the senior police inspector, Azad Maidan police station, Mumbai, Bennett Coleman has stated that the ‘exposes’ on Congress leader Shashi Tharoor and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Yadav, which Goswami aired on his Republic TV, ‘displayed material (in the form of audio tapes and phone conversations) that was procured and accessed while Mr Goswami and Ms Prema were in the employment of Times Now.’
The company confirmed filing the complaint and said in a release that it has been accepted by the Mumbai police and the matter is under investigation.
‘In fact, Mr Arnab Goswami and Ms. Prema Sridevi have on Republic TV admitted and claimed that the audio conversation in the Sunanda Pushkar case aired on 8th May 2017 was in their possession for the last two years when they were in their previous organisation, ie, with Times Now,’ the channel said in the release.
It further said, ‘Mr Goswami and Ms Sridevi have wilfully, deliberately 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 U/Sec.403 of IPC and several other provisions under applicable laws.’
The complaint has been filed under ‘Sections 378, 406, 409, 411, 414, 418 of the Indian Penal Code, read with Section 66-B, 72 and 72-A of the Information Technology Act, 2000, read with Section 34 and 120-B of the IPC’.
Times Now had earlier sent a notice to Goswami claiming copyright on the phrase ‘nation wants to know’ and asking him not to use it.