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Bollywood producers take their fight to EOW

Vashu Bhagnani files FIR against KriArj for duping him of Rs31.6 crore

mumbai Updated: Jul 27, 2018 12:32 IST
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Hindustan Times
Mumbai crime,Bollywood producers,Vashu Bhagnani
Vashu Bhagnani filed the FIR recently.(HT File Photo)

The economic offences wing (EOW) recently registered an FIR after film producer Vashu Bhagnani complained that three directors and promoters of production house, KriArj Entertainment Private Limited, cheated him of ₹31.6 crore. The complainant Nagesh Vaidikar, production manager at Bhagnani’s Puja Films, lodged the complaint on his behalf on July 14, under sections 420 and 120B against Prernaa Arora, Arjun N Kapoor and Pratima Arora.

A spokesperson of KriArj Entertainment said, “We completely deny this frivolous allegation. The matter is under civil court jurisdiction.  Facts are being twisted to make headlines.” Prernaa said the allegations are baseless. “Why would they do this when the court knows the truth?” she said. Vaidikar refused to speak on the matter.

The three accused allegedly led Bhagnani to finance the films Padman and Kedarnath, promising him a first claim on the revenue. The FIR states that the three asked Bhagnani for ₹10 crore for production and distribution of Padman in January. They also told him that Sony Films had the distribution rights. Prernaa and Pratimaallegedly also sought ₹9 crore to buy a house from Bhagnani in his building in Pali Hill. As per a contract signed on January 17, it was decided that after the film’s release and distribution in February, KriArj will pay ₹20 crore to Puja Films by April 15. If it failed to do so, Puja Films would be paid from the revenue of KriArj’s next film. Sony Films was made party to the contract.

Prernaa Arora from KriArj Entertainment.

Puja Films then sent Rs10 crore to KriArj. Bhagnani issued a credit note to Pratima stating ₹9 crore had been received from her, the FIR states. However, KriArj failed to repay Puja Films in time. Bhagnani was told by the accused that he would be now be paid Rs25 crore, the FIR stated. On April 16, Bhagnani was informed by Sony Films that one Gothic Entertainment also claimed revenue share of Padman. After Bhagnani sent a legal notice, Sony Films paid Puja Films Rs9.50 crore on April 23.

Later, Bhagnani got to know that KriArj had taken money from others, including Gothic without informing him. Gothic also had the first claim to revenue as per their contract in November 2017. Entities including Gothic, film financer Hitesh Thakkar, among others, have filed cases against KriArj too, the FIR stated.

First Published: Jul 27, 2018 12:20 IST