After turning to Delhi HC for help, Hollywood producer John Hart lodges ED plaint against The White Tiger maker Mukul Deora and Netflix for alleged money-laundering via offshore entities. The request to probe Mukul's shell companies was made by Sonia Mudbhatkal, Founder and CEO of the New Jersey-based Continuum Media LLC.
Reacting to the charges on Monday evening, Mukul Deora out Delhi High Court has already observed that it was not possible to come to any prima facie conclusion that, by producing or releasing the film, the Defendants had indulged in illegal copyright infringement or transgressed the right of the Plaintiff, as was being alleged.
Earlier, Mudbhatkal said in her complaint to ED, “I wanted to lodge a formal request for an investigation into the dealings of Congress politician Murli Deora’s son Mukul Deora and his CA (and Director of all Mukul Deora and Milind Deora companies), Sharad Seksaria, and also Netflix who is their accomplice as they are in the know of all these various shell companies, and have done a deal with such companies knowingly in violation of John Hart and my (the original copyright holders and producers of the film, The White Tiger) copyright and producing rights of the picture, and in, potentially, gross violation of our country’s laws.”
“Mukul Deora’s lawyer Sandeep Sethi openly admits that the Irish offshore entity Particle Media (Mukul’s benami entity), which on paper belongs to Raj Lakhani (Mukul Deora’s benamidar, who is a Hong Kong resident and British Passport holder as told to us) is in fact Mukul Deora’s company”, the complaint said.
“I have all the documentary evidence to prove the above beyond doubt including the BSI bank Swiss bank account cheque used for the transaction from Hong Kong. BSI Bank was subsequently shut down for money laundering in 2016,” Mudbhatkal said in the complaint.
A source close to Mukul shared, “They have tried going to court and put a stay on the movie, a night before the scheduled release date and the court has refused to do so. Now that the movie is gaining worldwide recognition, they are coming with fictitious allegations. It seems to be nothing more than vendetta driven harassment.”
Mukul issued a statement that read, "I have a deep respect for and full faith in the judiciary of India. As you are aware, on 21 January 2021, upon a holistic consideration of the facts, the Hon'ble Delhi High Court, among other things, rejected the demand by the Plaintiffs and refused to stay the release of The White Tiger. I understand that the Delhi High Court observed that it was not possible, based on the material on record before it, to come to any prima facie conclusion that, by producing or releasing the film, the Defendants indulged in illegal copyright infringement or transgressed the right of the Plaintiff as was alleged in the matter. The matter is currently subjudice and I look forward to the completion of the legal proceedings in this matter. The truth will continue to prevail."