InCable files contempt case against ESPN; court hearing on Monday

The battle between InCableNet and ESPN Software over increased subscription rates entered the courts today after the Hinduja Group MSO filed a contempt of court case against it and its managing director Manu Sawhney, and Sricharan Iyengar, V-P, distribution & affiliate sales.

The case - filed in the chambers of Justice Patil of the Bombay High Court - was on ESPN's request adjourned to Monday afternoon, an InCableNet release says.

"The contempt notice was a result of ESPN/Star Sports switching off their signals to InCableNet depriving viewers of feed with effect from the night of 5 January, 2002. The Hon'ble Bombay High Court, had by an earlier order dated 12 June, 2001, directed switching on of the signals of ESPN/Star Sports on an additional payment of Rs 4 lakhs (400,000) per month, until further orders of the Court," the release says.

An ESPN spokesperson said: "It is InCableNet which has approached the Hon'ble Bombay High Court alleging that ESPN Software has committed contempt of its order. The court has granted time to ESPN to clarify its position. We would not like to comment further as the matter is sub judice."

The standoff between the two sides (which shows no signs of letting up) arose after the MSO refused to sign on to the increased subscription package that went into effect from 1 January where the monthly tariff for the ESPN and Star Sports channels was pegged at RS 24 from the earlier RS 16.

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