MS Dhoni challenges defamation suit by former business associates

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Former Indian cricket captain MS Dhoni has contested the defamation suit filed by his ex-business partners Mihir Diwakar and Soumya Das in the Delhi High Court. Dhoni’s counsel argued that the suit was not maintainable and that he had already filed a case against the couple in a Ranchi court.

Dhoni denies making false statements

Dhoni’s counsel appeared before Justice Singh on Monday and submitted that the plaint against him was not maintainable and that he had just filed a case against the couple in a Ranchi court. His counsel further said that he had not received the copy of the plaint and related documents and was only informed by the high court registry about filing of the case.

The court asked the plaintiffs’ counsel to supply a complete set of documents to Dhoni’s counsel within three days. The court also refused to pass any interim order, at this stage, against Dhoni and several media houses and social media platforms to injunct them from posting or publishing any alleged false defamatory content against the plaintiffs on any platform which could tarnish their goodwill and reputation.

MS Dhoni

The plaintiffs and former business associates of Dhoni have approached the high court seeking a permanent injunction and damages against Dhoni, several social media platforms and media houses and thereby restraining them from making, publishing, circulating per se defamatory, ex facie false and malicious statements against them.

Plaintiffs allege damage to reputation

The lawyer appearing for the plaintiffs submitted that he only wanted a fair reporting by the media and claimed the media reporting against his clients was not fair as they had already been labelled as thugs and thieves. He alleged that Dhoni had made false statements against them in an interview with a news channel and that the same had been widely circulated on social media platforms.

The plaintiffs claimed that they had entered into a business partnership with Dhoni in 2010 for setting up a sports management company called Rhiti Sports Management Private Limited. They alleged that Dhoni had breached the partnership agreement and had cheated them of their share of profits. They also alleged that Dhoni had misused his position and influence to get them removed from the company.

Media houses question maintainability of suit

Advocate Siddhant Kumar, representing one of the media houses, also argued that the plea was not maintainable and placed an earlier judgment to contend that unless and until specific allegations are set out against each of the defendants, including media houses, no case will be made out. He also raised the issue of lack of territorial jurisdiction of this court to deal with the matter.

Justice Singh asked the plaintiffs’ counsel to take necessary steps to set out allegations against the defendants and listed the matter for further hearing on April 3. The high court had earlier asked its registry to inform Dhoni about filing of the defamation plea against him by his two former business partners.

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