Sahara withdraws case against ‘Mint’ journalist’s book

Mumbai: Sahara Group, which obtained a stay from the Calcutta high court in December on the publication of Mint journalist Tamal Bandyopadhyay’s book Sahara: The Untold Story and filed a Rs.200 crore defamation suit against the author and his publisher Jaico Publishing House, has withdrawn the case following an amicable settlement.

The book, which Bandyopadhyay wrote in his individual capacity, will now be released in May, a Jaico official said. Following the settlement, the book will incorporate a disclaimer issued by Sahara which says, “The book at best can be treated as a perspective of the author with all its defamatory content, insinuations and other objections, which prompted us to exercise our right to approach the court of law… By getting the opportunity to put forward our objections in the form of a disclaimer…in the best tradition of Sahara and our respect for a journalist’s freedom, we are…withdrawing the case we had filed against the publication of the book.”
This is Bandyopadhyay’s second book. His first book, A Bank for the Buck, tracing the growth of HDFC Bank Ltd into India’s most valuable bank, was a non-fiction best seller.

Sahara Group chief Subrata Roy and two directors have been in judicial custody in New Delhi’s Tihar jail since 4 March, after being arrested on 28 February on a non-bailable warrant issued by the Supreme Court for failing to attend a hearing related to contempt proceedings initiated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

Sebi initiated the proceedings on grounds that they hadn’t heeded court orders to reimburse investors money to the tune of Rs.20,000 crore owed by two Sahara Group firms that raised the money through a scheme the market regulator later ruled was illegal.
The Supreme Court has set bail for Roy and the two other directors at Rs.10,000 crore, half of that sum through a bank guarantee. On Monday, the Supreme Court reserved its order on their bail application and agreed to consider an offer by Sahara Group to pay Rs.3,000 crore within three days and an additional Rs.2,000 crore by 30 May. It offered to give bank guarantees of Rs.5,000 crore by 20 June.

Sahara has filed a defamation case in a Patna court against Mint’s editor and some reporters over the newspaper’s coverage of the company’s dispute with Sebi. Mint is contesting the case.

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