The Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), which owns TimesNow TV channel, has lodged a police complaint against new rival channel Republic TV alleging infringement of Intellectual Property Rights and other charges, a spokesperson said here on Wednesday.
The complaint was lodged on Tuesday against Republic TV Chief Editor Arnab Goswami, who is the Managing Director of Messrs ARG Outlier Media Asianet News Pvt. Ltd., and his colleague, reporter Prema Sridevi, additionally accusing them of "theft, criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of property".
When contacted, Goswami virtually laughed off the charges saying "it's interesting to see them get so nervous".
"I think they instinctively know they (TimesNow) have lost their audience (to Republic TV)," Goswami told IANS.
"It's amusing to see them get paranoid. Goliath is down to his knees, crying," guffawed Goswami.
In its complaint to the Senior Inspector of Police, Azad Maidan Police Station, the BCCL has referred to two news exposes on Republic TV on May 6 and May 8, by Goswami and Sridevi, both former staffers of TimesNow TV.
The BCCL has contended that both the exposes -- the Lalu Prasad Yadav tapes of May 6 and the late Sunanda Pushkar (Tharoor) tapes - were procured and accessed while Goswami and Sridevi were employees of TimesNow and "clearly pointed out" in an internal probe.
The 25-page complaint said that Goswami and Sridevi have admitted on Republic TV that the audio conversation in the Sunanda Pushkar case was in their possession since two years, when they were part of TimesNow.
"Goswami and Sridevi have wilfully, deliberately and with knowledge converted for their benefit and used the aforesaid intellectual property of 'TimesNow' and thereby dishonestly misappropriated the said intellectual property, thereby committing the offence of criminal misappropriation punishable under the laws," the BCCL complaint said.
It pointed out that TimesNow owns several intellectual assets in the form of stories, audio-video content, documents, tapes, etc., gathered by its team of reporters and journalists during its newsgathering and broadcasting operations, and has therefore initiated steps to protect its intellectual properties against misuse.