Zee rejects artists body IPRS’ insolvency claim

It has claimed a debt and default of Rs 211 crore for royalties.

Mumbai: When two giants decide to mate, the ground shakes and it irks others around. Exactly as is happening with  Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd's (Zeel) as it steadily moves ahead to fuse with Sony Pictures Networks India.

Earlier, IndusInd Bank, Axis Bank, and IDBI Bank had protested that they are owed money by sister company Zee Media, and hence the merger should be stalled and the entertainment major be dissolved. Now it's the turn of the music royalties collecting body, the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) to step into the frame and yell that Zeel owes it Rs 211 crore for music and literary works aired on the network's TV channels, and it needs to be declared insolvent.

The former has filed a petition with the National Company Law Tribunal's Mumbai bench, seeking the initiation of Zeel's corporate insolvency resolution process.

The Punit Goenka-headed firm has denied any such obligations, citing an existing dispute between it and the royalty body. In its reply it said:  "There is a pre-existing dispute between the parties on the claimed amount, the claim is not in consonance with the interpretation of the law on the point of payment of royalties for literary and musical works by the Delhi high court, and hence, the claimed amount is not due or payable to IPRS."

It added that it would be filing its reply to the IPRS petition at the earliest.

NCLT, CCI, and the company's shareholders have previously approved the merger with Culver Max Entertainment (Sony).

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