The Sahara group is trying its best to ensure that a still-to-be-released book, Sahara: The Untold Story, remains just that - untold. That's because the group has got an ex-parte stay from the Calcutta High Court on the release of the book, written by business journalist, Tamal Bandyopadhyay and being published by Jaico Books.
Sahara hasn't stopped there; it also filed an eye-popping Rs 200-crore defamation suit against the author last month.
Fighting court cases is becoming a familiar territory for the Sahara group, which has had several run-ins with the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India. The group has been grappling with a Supreme Court order that had asked it to refund money collected by two group companies - Sahara Housing Investment and Sahara India Real Estate - by November 30, 2012. Sahara also attracted strong criticism from the country's apex court.
The stay order on the book's publication came after the Sahara counsel pointed out certain "libellous materials" in the book and included some of them in the plaint. It was submitted that the book was targeted at lowering the reputation of Sahara and its founder in the eye of the public, without any justification.
After hearing the counsel, the court observed that "the balance of convenience lies in restraining its (the book's) publication till the prima facie case is more fully brought out".
When contacted, a spokesperson for the Sahara group did not get back on the issue, after promising he would. Bandyopadhyay could not be reached for comments. This is the second book by the author - the first was Bang for the Buck, also published by Jaico.