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Delhi high court dismisses Mehul Choksi’s plea seeking pre-screening of Netflix series

The poster released by Netflix shows Choksi’s nephew Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy (of the Sahara Group), now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines chairperson Vijay Mallya and Ramalinga Raju, the former chairman and CEO of Satyam Computer Services.

New Delhi, August 28: The Delhi high court on Friday dismissed a plea by Mehul Choksi, the uncle of diamantaire Nirav Modi, seeking a preview of a series to be aired by video streaming platform Netflix next month.

The series, ‘Bad Boy Billionaires’, focusses on the fraud committed by many high-profile business tycoons in India. The poster released by Netflix shows Choksi’s nephew Nirav Modi, Subrata Roy of the Sahara Group, chairperson of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines , Vijay Mallya, and Ramalinga Raju, the former chairperson and CEO of Satyam Computer Services.

The high court said Choksi can file a civil suit as what is being alleged as an infringement by him is a private right and can be exercised in a civil suit. It also refused to grant him a preview stating that there are no regulations to control the content being streamed on OTT platforms, citing a similar order passed by the division bench of the high court in a different matter.

Choksi had sought the postponement of the series, which is slated to be released on September 2. The petition, filed by lawyer Vijay Aggarwal, said that Choksi got to know of the documentary’s release on August 24 when he saw the trailer. He started receiving phone calls from across the world, including from Delhi, asking him whether he was part of the documentary and to solicit his comments.

Choksi further discovered, says the petition, that one of the persons seen speaking in the trailer was the writer of the book titled “Flawed: The Rise and Fall of India’s Diamond Mogul Nirav Modi” where his name had been co-mingled with Nirav Modi.

The petition said that Choksi fears his name may have been used in connection with Nirav Modi in the series even though his relation to the fugitive diamantaire is only that of an uncle and nephew. It also said that the series might have an episode on Choksi which has the potential of leading to a media trial. It said Choksi has the right to an innocent and free and fair trial and such a documentary would cause serious prejudice to his case.

The petition claimed that Choksi has been falsely accused of various crimes in India.

Lawyer Vijay Aggarwal had on Wednesday demanded a pre-screening for the petitioner and if his apprehension regarding his image getting tarnished is settled, then a chance may be given to him for agitating.

Senior advocate Neeraj Kishan Kaul, who appeared for Netflix, said the series has a two-minute piece on Nirav Modi where mentions of Choksi has been made. He also said that that there is no regulation of content on the OTT platform.

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