The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea by fugitive businessman Mehul Choksi seeking a preview of streaming platform Netflix’s upcoming web series Bad Boy Billionaires before its release on September 2, the Hindustan Times reported.
On Wednesday’s hearing, Choksi’s lawyer Vijay Aggarwal had argued that the series can affect the ongoing investigation against the 61-year-old businessman and his nephew Nirav Modi in a fraud case. To this effect, Choksi sought directions to restrain Netflix from releasing the episode. Both Choksi and Modi are accused of duping the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore.
The High Court on Friday refused to allow Choksi a preview of the series, stating that the streaming platform has no regulation to regulate the content. The court also said that Choksi can file a civil suit as his claims of infringement was his private right.
Netflix’s counsel, Neeraj Kishan Kaul, said the streaming platform was open to showing the series to the High Court but not to Choksi, The Economic Times reported. In the earlier hearing, he had said that Modi’s story was featured for a total of two minutes in the show, and Choksi was merely mentioned in it.
Aggarwal argued that Choski came to know about the series after he watched the trailer on August 24 after which he started getting calls for his comments if he was part of the series. The petition said that Choski further found out that one of the persons talking in the trailer was Pavan C Lall, 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 Modi.
“The petitioner [Choksi] is entitled in terms of Indian law, i.e. Article 21 of the Constitution of India to a presumption of innocence and a free and fair trial,” Aggarwal said. “Reputation being a facet of a person’s life, the petitioner is also entitled to a right to a reputation.”
The petition also claimed that Choksi has been falsely accused of various crimes in India.
Choksi had fled to Antigua and Barbuda in January 2018, a few weeks before the scam came to light. A year later, in January 2019, Choksi surrendered his Indian citizenship and passport to authorities in Antigua and Barbuda. This came five months after he claimed to have “lawfully applied” to become a citizen of the Caribbean nation to expand his business interests. The United Bank of India in October declared Choksi and his company Gitanjali Gems as wilful defaulters and sought repayment of Rs 332 crore in dues.