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Television editor sues channel for sweat equity
July, 19th 2006
Veteran journalist Suman Chattopadhyay has filed a civil suit in the Calcutta High Court against SST Media Private Ltd, and its promoters, Santanu Ghosh, Tathagata Dutta and Ambar Mukherjee.
 
He has prayed to the High Court to issue an "injunction to issue 30 per cent shares" in the company that runs Kolkata TV, the 24-hour Bengali new channel launched just four months ago on March 27.
 
SST is a part of the Xenitis Group, the makers of the Amar PC brand of value computers.
 
Chattopadhyay is one of the best known names in the vernacular media.
 
He was executive editor of Anandabazar Patrika for a long time and then executive producer of Star Ananda, before quitting in October last year to join hands with Ghosh and Dutta to launch Kolkata TV.
 
In his petition before the Kolkata High Court, Chattopadhyay alleges that according to the terms of the oral agreement with Ghosh and Dutta preceding the setting up of SST Media, the latter would have 35 per cent shares each, while the former would have the balance 30 per cent "sweat share" for "making available his experience and expertise in media business and use of his name". These shares were not issued, says the petition.
 
Further, the petition alleges, "the defendents in their proposal for availing credit facility from UCO Bank held out the plaintiff as having 30 per cent stake in SST Media..." He adds, "Representation to...bank was false."
 
Chattopadhyay had also been cited as a personal guarantor of the loan.
 
According to the papers filed with the bank, the 30 per cent share comes to Rs 266.40 lakh.
 
Chattopadhyay alleges that he was "not allowed to enter office" since June 6.
 
According to Chattopadhyay's lawyer, Utpal Majumdar, the court had sent summons to the defendents as well as the chairman of UCO Bank.
 
Further, Majumdar added that there was a legal precedence for seeking redressal for the violation of an oral agreement which had been backed by circumstantial evidence.
 
When contacted for his comments, Santanu Ghosh said he did not know of any such litigation.
 
 
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