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Court for early end to serial case

Calcutta, June 16: Justice M. H. S. Ansari indicated today that Calcutta High Court would like to complete the hearing of the copyright infringement case between Barbara Taylor Bradford and Sahara Manoranjan as early as possible.

However, with the company’s chairman and managing worker, Subrata Roy, ruling out the possibility of an out-of-court settlement with Bradford, the stage is set for a protracted legal battle in Calcutta and then in Delhi, according to sources in Sahara’s legal cell.

The case came up for hearing in the high court today. Appearing for Sahara, Siddhartha Shankar Ray contested the Manhattan-based author’s accusation of “breach of copyright” against the fledgling television channel.

According to Bradford, Sahara Manoranjan’s multi-crore television serial Karishma: The Miracles of Destiny is based on her best-seller novel A Woman of Substance. “There is only one commonality between the stories. Both are based on old ladies fighting against odds,” argued Ray.

Alleging that Pammi Somal, the film magazine journalist who interviewed the serial’s producer Akashdeep, was acting at Taylor’s behest, Ray cast doubts on the “correctness” of the tape containing the interview. Akashdeep apparently admitted to basing the serial on Bradford’s novel.

“There is no doubt that the case will go back to the Supreme Court. After the trial court ruling, which is expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, the case will surely go to the appeals court and then finally to the Supreme Court,” observed a legal expert.

Lawyers representing Bradford denied having been served any summons from a Mumbai court, where the serial’s story-writer Sachin Bhowmick filed a criminal defamation suit on Friday against Bradford and Somal. “We haven’t received any such summons, so we can’t comment on it,” said a spokesperson for Fox & Mandal, the solicitor firm representing Bradford.

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