Arts & Entertainment

Indian courts block screening of Netflix docu-series on corrupt billionaires

New Delhi, Sep 2 (efe-epa).- The screening of a documentary series on the rise and fall of four Indian billionaires allegedly involved in malpractices, set to be launched on Wednesday on the video-streaming platform Netflix, has been suspended by the judiciary after several petitions were filed by the businessmen.

The series, titled “Bad Boy Billionaires,” revolves around the stories of Vijay Mallya, Subrata Roy, Nirav Modi and Ramalinga Raju, powerful and controversial businessmen who amassed large fortunes and have faced cases of fraud and corruption in the country’s courts.

Netflix had promoted the series as an “investigative docu-series,” but was unable to release it on Wednesday due to multiple court orders.

On Monday, a judge in the eastern state of Bihar ordered a temporary stay on the screening following a petition by Roy, the former chairman of the Indian business conglomerate Sahara India Parivar.

Roy was accused of embezzling millions of rupees deposited by small investors, and was jailed for many months before being released on bail in May 2016.

He has claimed that the documentary would “malign” his reputation by associating him with other billionaires who have been declared fugitives from justice.

On Wednesday, the Indian Supreme Court refused to hear a petition by Netflix to overturn the order, and asked the platform to approach a lower court.

Raju, another protagonist of the series, also approached a civil court in the southern city of Hyderabad on Tuesday, alleging that it was based on his life and illegally violated his privacy, according to local media reports.

The judge in Hyderabad also stayed the release of the documentary.

Raju was chairman and CEO of the information technology company Satyam Computer Services between 1987 to 2009, and resigned after admitting to embezzling company funds worth 50.4 billion rupees (around $690 million)

Meanwhile businessman Mehul Choksi – who also figures in the series – last week petitioned the Delhi High Court for a pre-screening before the release, although the appeal was turned down by the court citing the lack of regulations on content produced by platforms such as Netflix.

Choksi is the uncle of diamond merchant Nirav Modi and the two are accused of carrying out a fraud worth $1.77 billion in funds gained from the Punjab National Bank, now merged with the second largest banking entity in the country.

“This documentary series explores the greed, fraud and corruption that built up – and ultimately brought down – India’s most infamous tycoons,” read the program’s description on Netflix, which has for the moment withdrawn its trailers from its website and social media handles. EFE-EPA

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