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Gaurang Doshi is not absolved of contempt charge, still faces prison term

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The Aankhen (2002) producer had earlier claimed that the charge against him had been dropped and the jail sentence revoked.

Keyur Seta

The case of film producer Gaurang Doshi seems to just get more curious. In July, Doshi, best known for the blockbuster Aankhen (2002) starring Amitabh Bachchan, Akshay Kumar, Sushmita Sen, Arjun Rampal and Paresh Rawal, had sent a press note through his publicist that a charge of contempt of court against him had been dropped and the six-month jail sentence revoked.

It now turns out that no such thing had happened and the charge, conviction and sentence are all very much in place.

Doshi had been charged with contempt of court for failing to repay the money he owed film production company Scorg International and sentenced to undergo six months’ simple imprisonment by the Bombay high court last year.

“Mr Doshi’s information to the media is false, unwarranted and illegal,” advocate Krishna Kedia of the law firm Parinam Law Associates, which holds the brief for Scorg International, told Cinestaan. “Mr Doshi has not been absolved of any contempt charge. In fact, the order dated 10 July 2019 passed by the high court makes it abundantly clear that upon his failure to pay our client Rs1.5 crore within two months the non-bailable warrant against him will become executable immediately.” Cinestaan.com has a copy of the relevant court order.

Kedia said Doshi had given an oral undertaking to the court through his lawyers that he would deposit Rs1.5 crore within two months. “Accordingly, the order dated 10 July 2019 was passed by the high court by which Mr Doshi’s appeal against the contempt case was dismissed and he was directed to make the payment to our client within two months failing which the orders passed against him by the court would become executable,” she said.

The advocate pointed out that till date Doshi has not made any payment to Scorg International and is thus in contempt of the court.

Even earlier, at a hearing on 31 October 2018, Justice GS Patel had admonished Doshi for making false claims in the media. While highlighting that the producer has a presence in the media, Justice Patel said, “In one of the [articles], Gaurang Doshi has announced something he is said to have described as a ‘comeback’. I do not think Mr Doshi as yet has an accurate idea of what the phrase ‘comeback’ actually means in the context of the decree against him, the proposed lookout notice and his persistent defiance of the orders of this court. He will learn.”

Doshi is currently absconding and believed to be in the United Arab Emirates. There is a lookout notice against him.

After repeated attempts to get Doshi’s version through phone calls and text and WhatsApp messages to his lawyer, Doshi himself called up Cinestaan.com to say the matter was all a misunderstanding and he would be clearing the payment at the earliest, probably by Tuesday 8 October. It remains to be seen if he makes good his word this time.