Manna Dey book: Publisher restrained by court

Bengaluru: In an ex-parte order, a city civil court has restrained a Kolkata-based journalist and five other defendants from publishing a 'controversial' book against the family of late singer Manna Dey, until the next hearing.

"Having gone through the contents of the plaint, and the documents, including the extracts of infringed book, I am of the view at this stage that there is an emergent situation and the very purpose of the suit will be defeated by delay," said the judge. "Therefore, in order to avoid multiplicity of proceedings, I proceed to pass the order," additional city civil and sessions judge S K Vantigodi said in the order passed on 13 February.

The petitioners - Shumita Deb, daughter of Manna Dey, and her husband Jnan Ranjan Deb - had filed the petition before the court on 6 February, seeking the book to be restrained.

In their petition, Deb alleged that Gautam Bhattacharya had written "malicious and defamatory contents" in an article published on 28 October 2013 and a book titled 'Taradar Sesh Chitthi' (Star's Last Letter).

Deb told PTI the book and a series of articles written by Bhattacharya had maligned his and his wife's image, as the writer holds them in poor light by claiming that they did not take care of Manna Dey when he stayed with them in Bengaluru.

"Bhattacharya wrote an article soon after Manna Dey's death that we were not taking proper care of Manna Dey as the controversial writer found the late singer in poor health on a wheelchair and the house in bad shape," Deb said.

Deb also alleged in the petition that Bhattacharya tried to incite the people of West Bengal against the family.

"Because of this article and subsequent write-ups in the Bengali paper, inciting the people of West Bengal against us, and ultimately with the help of the then (Bengaluru) Police Commissioner Raghavendra Auradkar, we were able to get armed protection whenever we travelled to Kolkata. Auradkar had requested the then Kolkata Police Commissioner to do so," he said.

All these articles appeared when an ugly row had surfaced over the issue of carrying Manna Dey's mortal remains to his hometown Kolkata, Deb added.

The West Bengal government was keen to get the legend's mortal remains back to Kolkata for the government and people to pay their last respects.

"However, we refused all such offers from the state government, saying that the Mamata Banerjee government never helped the family in our times of distress," Deb said.

The next hearing in the case will be on 11 April.


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