Upcoming Netflix ‘docuseries’ Bad Boy Billionaires has been embroiled in controversy with cases filed in at least two courts. The show is an investigative series on the rise and fall of India’s most infamous business tycoons like Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya who are accused in several money laundering cases.
Earlier, Bihar lower court had restrained the makers of the series from using Subrata Roy’s name. The Netflix then filed a plea in the Supreme Court against the order. However, the apex court on Wednesday refused to entertain the plea and granted the Netflix the liberty to approach the Patna High Court.
“Dismissed. We are sorry," the bench led by SA Bobde said. Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was appearing for Netflix, told the bench that several petitions pertaining to the web series are pending in various high courts and the apex court should transfer these matters to itself.
Mehul Choksi filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court terming the series a “prejudicial to the legal cases pending against him and also to his reputation and goodwill."
Here is a brief about some of the faces that have emerged in Bad Boy Billionaires and the charges they are facing for money laundering and fraud cases.
Subrata Roy is an Indian businessman and the Managing Worker and Chairman of Sahara India Pariwar. Roy and two other directors were arrested for failure of the group’s two companies — Sahara India Real Estate Corporation (SIRECL) and Sahara Housing Investment Corp Ltd (SHICL) — to comply with the apex court’s August 31, 2012 order to return Rs 25,000 crore to their investors. Roy was sent to Tihar Jail by the apex court on March 4, 2014 and came out on parole after spending over two years in prison on May 6, 2016 to perform the last rites of his mother. He has been out of prison since then.
Nirav Modi is a fugitive Indian businessman and diamantaire wanted by the Interpol and Government of India in money laundering case. He been lodged at Wandsworth Prison in south-west London since his arrest in March last year and will remain remanded in custody until the start of the trial on September 7 when he will appear via videolink. He is facing trial in nearly USD 2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud and money laundering case. In March 2018, Modi applied for bankruptcy protection in Manhattan, New York. In June 2018, Modi was reported to be in the UK and has applied for political asylum in Britain.
Mehul Choksi, uncle of fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, is accused in the nearly USD 2 billion PNB scam. On August 28, the Delhi High Court had dismissed a plea by Choksi to conduct pre-screening of Bad Boy Billionaires. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal appearing for Choksi argued on fundamental rights that Choksi is entitled to a fair trial and reputation and would suffer great injustice should the Series be allowed to stream with references to him and the legal cases pending against him. Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, and his nephew Nirav Modi are accused in the Rs 13,500 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case. Choksi left the country last year and was granted citizenship of Antigua and Barbuda. His plea for pre-screening was vehemently opposed in the high court by Netflix saying it was wholly misconceived and mischievous petition.
Vijay Mallya is another Indian fugitive businessman and is an accused in a bank loan default case of over Rs 9,000 crore involving his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. He is presently in the United Kingdom. The apex court’s 2017 order had come on a plea by consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI), which had said that Mallya had allegedly transferred USD 40 million received from British firm Diageo, to his children in “flagrant violation" of various judicial orders. Mallya was also found guilty of contempt of court in 2017 for transferring USD 40 million to his children.