Zilingo Founder Ankiti Bose Secures Permanent Injunction Against Mahesh Murthy For Defamation In Bombay HC

Zilingo Founder Ankiti Bose Secures Permanent Injunction Against Mahesh Murthy For Defamation In Bombay HC

The court has imposed a permanent restriction on Murthy from making or disseminating any defamatory statements regarding Bose in any manner.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Saturday, August 26, 2023, 10:31 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

In a significant legal victory, Zilingo founder Ankiti Bose has been granted a permanent injunction by the Bombay High Court against Mahesh Murthy, the founder of Pinstorm and a prominent Indian marketer. The court has imposed a permanent restriction on Murthy from making or disseminating any defamatory statements regarding Bose in any manner.

Justice SM Modak issued this order on August 25, while addressing a lawsuit initiated by Bose against Murthy in response to an article published by him in a business magazine.

Bose, who had been suspended from her position as CEO of Zilingo in March 2022 amid inquiries into financial irregularities, claimed that concerted efforts were made to oust her from the company. The company itself went into liquidation in January of the same year.

During this period, Murthy authorized an article titled "From Vulture Capital to Victim Capital: Mahesh Murthy’s Take on VCs in India."

Bose filed her defamation suit in April, asserting that although not explicitly mentioned, the article alluded to her. The article referenced India's prominent startups, one of them being Zilingo. It also hinted at founders of startups not being passive observers, and it contained indications about individuals engaging in financial improprieties. Bose contended that the "lady" referred to in the article was indeed her.

Bose alleged that both the magazine and Murthy caused significant harm to her reputation and public standing. She sought damages amounting to Rs 820 crore and requested the removal of any online content—articles, tweets, or statements—targeting her.

In response, Murthy argued that if the actions detailed in the article were attributed to an unnamed person, Bose had no grounds for a defamation claim.

However, Justice Modak observed that the article's contents included references to Zilingo and a lady responsible for the platform. This suggested that any illicit activities were committed solely by this individual.

Given that Bose is the only female co-founder of the fashion portal, and Murthy himself acknowledged this fact, the court found that Bose's case for interim relief was substantiated. The court determined that Murthy's stance of acting in good faith and public interest did not hold.

The court further emphasized that Murthy could not evade accountability by arguing that the article did not explicitly mention or name Bose.

"As long as this article remains in circulation, it is bound to impact Bose's reputation. Based on the documents presented, it is evident that the balance of convenience favors Bose," stated the court, delivering relief to Bose in this legal matter.

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