Movies

RGV, T-Series reach settlement; T-Series to market Sarkar Raj

NEW DELHI: Ten days after Ram Gopal Varma sent a strong salvo to the media on his ongoing war with T-Series, both sides today reached an amicable solution to their dispute and T-Series got the rights of Varma’s latest Sarkari Raj.Refusing to go into details, spokespersons from both sides told indiantelevision.com that status quo would be observed for the earlier films given to T-Series, and there was no decision yet on projects after Sarkar Raj. They also said it had been decided not to give any more clarifications to the media.

In his letter earlier this month, Varma had denied that he had entered into any agreement with Supercassettes in June 2006 in NOIDA as alleged. In fact, Varma had said that though the Agreement dated 13th June 2006 is said to have been signed in NOIDA, ‘I have never set foot in NOIDA’. He said that Supercassettes owner Bhushan Kumar had in fact confessed ‘somewhere’ that the agreement indeed was not signed (in full) in NOIDA. In any case, Varma has moved the court for the transfer of the suit.

It has been alleged that he had in the agreement of June 2006 permitted Supercassettes to ‘obtain the Master from any source in case Adlabs fails to deliver the same to us for this purpose’.

But he asked: "what kind of a man would want anyone to sign a document like this? And why would anybody, no matter how mad or stupid he is, sign such a document? I may have been a na?ve and a fool to have trusted Bhushan Kumar and signed the agreement dated 13th June 2006 with all the flaws in the contents, but surely I am not such a fool as to sign something as preposterous" as this.

He said that Supercassettes had produced some papers in court which included an allegedly forged letter dated 29 September last through which ‘I am categorically allowing Bhushan Kumar to Pirate my film RGV Ki Aag from any unknown source.’

The letter purportedly from Supercassettes had said: ‘This is to inform you that we have already released the Audio and the Video is yet to be released of your film Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag starring Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Sushmita Sen & others and directed by Ram Gopal Varma the right of which were assigned by you in our favour as detailed under MOU/Agreement dated 13.06.2006’.

‘As agreed you have further confirmed that we shall be authorised to release all your films (of the above Deed) on Video after two weeks of their theatrical releases and we may obtain the Master from any source in case M/s. Adlabs fails to deliver the same to us for this purpose at your responsibility (Civil / Criminal) in respect thereof. Please sign in confirmation.’

But Varma admitted that he had on 13 June 2006 in good faith entered into an MoU/ Assignment Deed with Bhushan Kumar of T-series for the Audio & India Home Video rights of his forthcoming films.

‘Just one of the many recurring unpleasant experiences that I experienced in dealing with him was when Bhushan Kumar released the Video of RGV Ki Aag on VCD/DVDs illegally and pirated the film from a theatre (Proof of this act is visible in all the VCD/DVDs available in the open market). Since I never authorised lowering my dues payable by Bhushan Kumar the alleged confirmations shown in my name vide letter dated 7 September and 29 September last year are only based on false and forged letters on which the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) in Mumbai is investigating.’

‘I had legally terminated my MoU with Bhushan Kumar with a notice dated 14 November last on the basis of Non-payment of the dues T-series owed to me, non-Adherence to the Assignment Deed, and for pirating my film against the authorised party’s confirmation (i.e. Adlabs Films). I could not carry my business relations with him any further.’

‘Next, he brandished threats, again through media that if I do not go to Noida pursuant to the notice issued by the Inspector of Police there, I will be arrested. The Police officer of Noida Police station echoed Bhushan Kumar as per media reports. In fact all concerned should have known the law that under the provision of section 160 of Cr.P.C. (under which the notice is sent to me by the Noida Police), they cannot summon or arrest an accused (that is me) against whom they (the Police) have registered an FIR.’

Bhushan Kumar had - prior to Varma receiving the notice under section 160 - already filed a Civil case against Varma in the Noida Court claiming the video and audio rights of his forthcoming films and to support his case he had filed certain documents which contained the letter dated 29 September which Varma was shocked to find was forged.

Varma goes on: ‘The reason behind Bhushan Kumar resorting to fraud and forgery is very simple, it is to cause me loss and have wrongful gain to himself. I would also like to ask Mr. Bhushan Kumar why he had to resort to get a private agency to certify the genuine-ness of his signature when the Mumbai Police was already investigating.

‘Without commenting on media reports on the disputes which are pending in the court, Varma says, he wishes to set out more of the facts in correct perspective.

According to him, he discovered forgery of documents. The Police are investigating the same and after intensive enquiry found prima facie evidence and only then have registered FIR against Bhushan Kumar. Here Bhushan Kumar goes to the press claiming that he has the report of a private handwriting expert which exonerates him. It is for the Police to get the investigation done and not for the accused to exonerate himself on the basis of a privately hired expert paid by him. Bhushan Kumar also used cohesive measures like filing an FIR in Noida Police station. The crux of his complaint is that Varma has cancelled the agreement and is refusing to make payments, and hence this amounts to cheating.

Against this FIR, Varma moved the High Court of Allahabad which said: “We have heard Learned Counsel for the Petitioner at a great length and Learned AGA and have perused the impugned FIR. Learned Counsel for the Petitioner contended that parties are already litigating in Original Suit No. 91 of 2008 and the impugned FIR has been lodged maliciously only as an arm twisting device. He further contended that contents of FIR clearly indicated that it is a breach of contract without criminal intent. List this Petition in the week commencing 1 July 2008 for admission / final disposal before the appropriate Bench. However, on the facts of the present case the petitioner shall not be arrested in the aforesaid crime number for the aforesaid offences till the next date of listing.”

Varma says that if cancellation of agreement can be registered as ground for FIR, then almost all litigants in property disputes should be facing prosecution. ‘Having moved the court of Noida, Bhushan Kumar should have the decency to await its decision, rather then trying to intimidate me through an obliging Police officer. I have issued a notice to the Police officer quoting law laid down by the Supreme Court that he has no powers to arrest in breach of his summons under Section 160 of Cr.P.C.’

He says he was prepared to appear before the NOIDA Court when summoned and not make a run to the Economic Offences Wing of Mumbai Police with a false and baseless case. ‘The fact that they initiated action against Bhushan Kumar only after undergoing immense Preliminary Investigation before filing my FIR and till seizing the documents from Bhushan Kumar from his office allegedly producing forensic reports from a Private Agency from Delhi alleging my signatures to be true and genuine. No private agency report on such matters will be entertained in the court.’

It was later that Bhushan Kumar filed a counter complaint with the Noida Police of Sector 20 at Noida under more or less the same sections on which he is being investigated upon in Mumbai by the EOW.

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