A Pune court has temporarily restrained Associated Broadcasting Company (ABC), which operates TV 9 Channel, from broadcasting or telecasting defamatory news about Lavasa Corporation Ltd, which is developing a hill station near the town in Maharashtra.
The Court granted this interim relief on October 27 to Lavasa Corporation Ltd, which has claimed Rs 304 crore damages in a suit filed against ABC for allegedly airing defamatory matter about the development of the hill station.
The Court has also issued notice to the defendants asking them to file a reply as to why interim relief should not be confirmed. The notice is returnable on November 16.
In the suit, Lavasa Corporation Ltd had contended that the channel had telecast defamatory news about the project in five different reports from August 26 to September 1. The suit said allegations levelled were that politicians have stakes in Lavasa project and that the Government had given land to it.
Lavasa Corporation denied that land had been given by the Government or that it had purchased land from the State. It said 9500 acres of land had been bought directly through private negotiations at the then prevailing market rates.
Such defamatory reports would jeopardise the project, which is contrary to public interest because Lavasa will not not only boost tourism but also significantly add to the revenue of Maharashtra, the suit contended.
The court observed, "Prima facie a case had been made out for interim relief. As it is a news channel there is viewership, which started to withdraw investments. Documents to this effect are also filed and read over".