New Delhi: Superstar Rajinikanth's wife Latha Rajinikanth was on Tuesday pulled up by the Supreme Court over her attempts to backtrack from an undertaking given to the court.
A bench headed by Justice Ranjan Gogoi took strong exception to Latha's attempt to skirt her liability to pay Rs 6.2 crore to an advertising agency on the pretext that her previous lawyer had wrongly given the undertaking.
"We don't like people playing around with court orders. We think you should face the trial. If you're innocent, you will be acquitted. Face the trial," remarked the bench.
The previous undertaking was to pay Rs 6.2 crore to advertising firm AD-Bureau Advertising Pvt Ltd. The firm has alleged that it had given the money during the post-production of 2014 film Kochadaiiyaan to Mediaone Global Entertainment Ltd on personal guarantee of Latha, who is a director in Mediaone.
The advertising agency sought investigation and trial of Latha under charges of cheating, alleging that her firm did not only fail to repay the money, but also used the loan to cover some previous debts.
While the trial court had ordered for investigation, the Karnataka High Court quashed the complaint, compelling the advertising agency to move the apex court in appeal.
In February, Latha's lawyer gave an undertaking in the court that if her firm does not pay in three months, she will be personally liable to pay Rs 6.2 crore to the advertising agency.
However, on Tuesday, the lawyer for her firm offered to give a cheque of only Rs 10 lakh.
"We don't want you to pay. We want the lady to pay. It is her undertaking and the period of three months is long gone," retorted the bench, also comprising Justice R Banumathi.
Advocate Balaji Srinivasan, representing Latha, then made a statement that the undertaking was recorded by the previous lawyer without Latha's approval.
This submission irked the bench, which shot back that it will not allow people to play around with court orders.
"We don't think it is a case of quashing (the complaint against Latha). Why should we give extra indulgence to her anymore? We kept it pending only because you gave an undertaking. We should now decide it only on merits," observed the court.
Srinivasan then said that the dispute is chiefly about the quantum of dues and hence, the advertising agency should make a categorical statement on how much is the amount pending and its calculation.
But the bench was unimpressed. It replied that a previous order has already clarified that it does not want to go into the extent of liability in view of the undertaking.
The court then fixed the case for Tuesday next week to deliver its order as to whether the investigation and trial of Latha should be revived or not.