Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s sister Kumkum Saigal and her son Sahil have filed a civil defamation suit in a city court against actor Luviena Lodh for an offensive video posted on her social media account and have claimed Rs. 90 lakh in damages as well as an apology.
The Saigals have sought an order and injunction against Lodh from making defamatory statements against them. They have also sought that the court direct her to issue a written unconditional apology to be published on her social media as well as in newspapers, to pay Rs. 90 lakh as damages for the defamation and to withdraw the objectionable video.
They claimed in their suit filed through advocate Rizwan Merchant that Lodh was married in 2010 to a distant relative of Bhatts - Sumit Sabherwal and the couple was staying at their Versova flat. A suit is filed because they were not vacating it. An eviction notice had been served this month in this connection and that fearing eviction, Lodh had posted the objectionable video.
They have said further that the video seems to be an attempt to gain cheap publicity and settle personal scores with her husband, who no longer lives with her (Lodh lives in the flat) and in the process, they have been dragged into it. The video was published by many news organisations with a transcript where their version was not taken.
“The video is made to assert rights over the disputed flat,” it said and added that it is a “last ditch attempt to get the best settlement in the matrimonial dispute.”
They have been subject to embarrassment, humiliation and ridicule among the public who believed the allegations in the video to be true and it was tagged, forwarded by trolls and even verified Twitter accounts held them guilty resulting in a social media trial, they said.
In the video posted on 23 October on Lodh’s Instagram account that is open to the public Lodh has made statements against her husband, Mahesh Bhatt, Mukesh Bhatt and has held them and the Saigals responsible if anything happens to her.
Lodh's advocate Prashant Pandey said, "Truth can be the only defence, everything said was the truth and nothing but the truth. Defamation is the new tool used by the rich to harass those who speak the truth."