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The Sahara India group has slapped a Rs. 200-crore defamation suit against senior journalist Tamal Bandyopadhyay and got a stay on a yet-to-be-released book about the group, through a Calcutta high court order last month.
The book, Sahara – The Untold Story, chronicles the story of the company; Bandyopadhyay had previously interviewed Sahara chief Subrata Roy for this. The group has alleged in its suit that the contents of the book are libellous.
The group had recently been rapped by the Supreme Court for its “obnoxious behaviour” and warned by the court of a CBI probe.
On December 10, the high court granted the group’s plea for a stay on the book’s release, and the court extended that interim order on December 23 until further orders. The group has also made Jaico Publishing House, the publisher of the book, a party to the suit.
“It was submitted that this book was targeted at lowering the reputation of the plaintiffs (Sahara and Roy) in the eyes of the public, without any justification or privilege,” said justice IP Mukerji in his December 10 order, available on the court’s official website.
Material from the book has previously been published as excerpts in a magazine. The Mint newspaper had, in March, carried a story on the group, including material from Roy’s interview, with a pointer to the forthcoming book. Bandyopadhyay refused to comment on the matter.
Mint is published by HT Media, which publishes Hindustan Times.
Sahara corporate communications head Abhijit Sarkar’s phone was switched off and messages and an email to him received no response.