‘Not illegal to report on Dhoni’s complaint’: Delhi HC on his ex-partner’s plea | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times

‘Not illegal to report on Dhoni’s complaint’: Delhi HC on his ex-partner’s plea

Jan 29, 2024 02:59 PM IST

Dhoni’s counsel appeared before the court and submitted that the plaint against him was not maintainable and he has just filed a case against the couple in a Ranchi court

The Delhi high court on Monday refused to restrain media houses from reporting with regard to the cheating case filed by cricketer MS Dhoni against his ex-business partners Mihir Diwakar and his wife Soumya Das, for allegedly duping him of 15 crore, adding that reporting on complaint is not illegal reporting.

The high court has isted the matter for further hearing on April 3. (File photo)
The high court has isted the matter for further hearing on April 3. (File photo)

The court instead directed the couple’s counsel to specify the allegations against each media house.

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The court was considering a suit filed by Dhoni’s ex business partners seeking to injunct the cricketer, media houses and social media platforms from publishing false and defamatory content against them in relation to the allegations made by the cricketer.

The couple had also sought to direct X (formerly known as Twitter), Google, YouTube, Facebook and other news platforms to take down the defamatory posts and articles against them.

“If they (media houses) are only reporting on the complaint, then it is not illegal reporting. This is happening in social media so often. You (couple) can’t implead (make them parties in the suit) all the media houses. Tell me the persons against whom you are affected. I’m not inclined to grant anything,” a bench of justice Prathiba Singh told senior advocate Satvik Verma, who appeared for the couple, while posting the suit for April 3.

Also Read: Delhi HC to consider suit filed by MS Dhoni’s ex-business partners on Jan 29

The suit arises out of the agreement entered between the company, Aarka Sports Management, a company owned by the duo, and the cricketer in 2017, wherein Dhoni was to receive the full franchise fee and profits were to be shared on a 70:30 basis between the cricketer and the ex-partners.

According to the cricketer, he had in August 2021, however revoked the agreement but the former partners continued setting up academies in eight to 10 locations without informing him and did not make payments to him.

On Monday, the cricketer appearing through advocate Shekhar Kumar submitted that the suit was not maintainable, since he had only filed a criminal case against his former partners under Sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) in Ranchi court and had done nothing else.

On behalf of the duo, Verma submitted that though the cricketer had only filed a complaint, media houses in their articles had labelled them as thugs and a cheat. He claimed that the reporting regarding the complaint was not fair.

“I’m only pressing an injunction against false reporting. Right of freedom of press isn’t an unfettered right. Only a complaint has been filed & nothing has happened in four months. I’m not against reporting. It’s essential for democracy. It cannot be reported in a manner specifically when they cast me in a manner that I am already a thug and a cheat,” the counsel said.

The duo in the suit had contended that the allegations were made without any basis and evidence with the sole intention to tarnish and malign their reputation and that the same are wild, false, baseless, vindictive and unfounded.

“The letter could have only been revoked by the person granting the authority ie Defendant No 1 (Dhoni). The allegations against the Plaintiffs are per se false and defamatory and without any merit whatsoever. These allegations are a product of Defendant No. 1’s vendetta and wild imagination and the allegations are leaked to the media houses and further circulated and published by Defendant Nos. 2 to 35. That on the date of publication of the allegations, there is absolutely no basis for such allegations being made by Defendant No. 1 and Defendant Nos. 2 to 35 have published it on their respective websites for all and sundry to view,” the suit read.

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