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Madras High Court restrains channels

Mahendra Singh Dhoni

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Tuesday restrained Zee Media Corporation Ltd and News Nation Network from publishing or telecasting any news content on Team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, implicating that he is involved in betting, spot-fixing and match-fixing or in any manner insinuating about his integrity and honesty.

Justice S. Tamilvanan passed the interim order restraining the news networks for a period of two weeks, after Dhoni approached the court with a civil suit.

Dhoni claimed he was aggrieved by the highly defamatory scandalous, libellous and malicious false reports and statements being made by Zee Media Corporation, News Nation Network and the suspended IPS officer G. Sampath Kumar, who he alleged were “acting in concert”.

Dhoni’s affidavit stated: “Since February 11, 2014, Zee Media Corporation Limited (Zee News) and Sudhir Chaudhary, editor and business head of the channel in collusion with G. Sampath Kumar have been telecasting and broadcasting and hosting false news reports insinuating that the plaintiff (Dhoni) was involved in the illegal activities of betting, match fixing and spot fixing.

“News Nation Network Private Limited also joined the tirade against him and went to the extent of stating that he was summoned by the Tamil Nadu Police, which he claimed was utterly false.

“The reports that were broadcast by the news networks revolved around the IPL team Chennai Super Kings of which Dhoni is the captain and the alleged involvement of him in match-fixing devastated the reputation and image of Dhoni in the eyes of millions of fans all over the world.”

Dhoni said that the telecasts were done with an intention to project him as an object of hate and ridicule to the general public, especially fans of Chennai Super Kings in Chennai, who have been negatively influenced by malicious and false reports.

Dhoni sought the court to direct the defendants — the two channels and Sampath Kumar — to pay Rs 100 crore in compensation. Even though no amount of money would compensate him for the loss of his image and reputation amongst his followers and cricket lovers all over the world he was limiting the figure of damages tentatively to a sum of Rs.100 crore, he claimed.

Dhoni is represented by P.S. Raman, former advocate general, who had also assisted Gurunath Meyiappan in the betting case filed by the Mumbai Police.

The present case was filed in Chennai after the channels telecast reports related to Dhoni’s role as captain of Chennai Super Kings.