Actor and producer John Abraham filed three criminal complaints today against Prernaa Arora and her company, KriArj Entertainment, for cheating, breach of trust, defamation and offences committed under the Information Technology Act, according to a press release issued by Abraham’s company, JA Entertainment.

The move is an escalation in the battle between Abraham and KriArj over their production Parmanu The Story of Pokhran. Abraham has claimed that KriArj defaulted on payments that led to delays in the movie’s release. Arora has argued that budget overruns led to the delay. The movie, directed by Abhishek Sharma and starring Abraham, Diana Penty and Boman Irani, is based on the nuclear tests conducted in Pokhran in 1998. Parmanu is targetting a May 4 release, and a teaser was released on Friday.

According to the press release issued by JA Entertainment, Abraham “had signed a Co-production agreement with Prernaa Arora’s company Kriarj Entertaiment Pvt. Ltd. wherein Kriarj had agreed to pay Rs 35 crores to John’s company to cover the cost of production, fees of all actors and other production related expenses and had also agreed to additionally bear the Print and Advertisement expenses (P&A) for the film Parmanu - The Story of Pokhran against which John had agreed to assign the exploitation rights and 50% IPR of the film to Prernaa’s company”.

The press release adds, “However, after Prernaa’s repeated delays in making payments by stopping cheque payments and giving wrong bank transfer details (UTR numbers) at every stage and refusal to pay the last tranches of payment, which were critical for completing the post production work of the film, John followed the due process as laid down by law. He first gave a legal notice to cure the breach and after Prernaa’s failure to cure the breaches, John terminated the agreement with Prernaa in order to save his film. After this termination, which is a purely Civil Dispute, Prernaa filed a false criminal complaint against John and started making defamatory statements against him in the media. Prernaa also illegally started blocking the online publicity materials launched by John for the promotion of his film. John also came to know that Prernaa had, without his knowledge, already recovered monies in excess of what she had to pay him from various third parties and yet did not pay him his dues.”

Parmanu The Story of Pokhran.