Netflix has hit a legal wall with the Indian courts that have ordered the streaming platform to halt the release of its new show Bad Boy Billionaires. The docuseries was set to air on Sept. 2, but after some of the subjects of the show took Netflix to court to block its release, the streaming platform has had to put a hold on the show airing both in India and the United States.
The series explores the stories of four well-known Indian businessmen who achieved meteoric levels of success before being brought down by corruption and greed, defrauding people for millions of rupees and causing nationwide scandals.
So far two of the film’s subjects, Subrata Roy and Ramalinga Raju, as well as one interviewee, Mehul Choksi, have filed separate petitions with the Indian courts to block the show’s release. While Subrata is a main subject of the show, Mehul only appears in the show for a total of two minutes.
Who is Mehul Choksi and what scandal is he involved in?
Mehul Choksi is a Bombay-born gem and jewelry tycoon who owned Gitanjali Group, which used to be the biggest branded jewelry retailer in the world and the supplier of over 50 percent of the entire jewelry market in India.
Mehul is also the maternal uncle of Nirav Modi, who is the subject of one of the episodes of the series. Nirav, who was born in India but grew up in Antwerp, Belgium, got his start in retail jewelry through his uncle Mehul, and the two grew their jewelry empire together.
In February 2018, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) launched an investigation into Nirav and Mehul’s dealings with Punjab National Bank, after being tipped off about a possible case of fraud. It subsequently turned out that Nirav had scammed their business partners and the bank of approximately $2 billion with the help of corrupt individuals at PNB.
After the CBI filed charges for non-payment of these huge debts, both Nirav and Mehul fled the country. Once Nirav was spotted in Hong Kong and New York, the fugitive tycoon was finally arrested by local authorities in London in March of 2019. He’s currently waiting on the results of his extradition trial in the U.K., which resumes this month.
Meanwhile, Mehul absconded to Antigua in the Caribbean but last week he filed a petition with the Delhi courts, demanding a personal preview of the docuseries, prior to its public release. His request was denied by the court but Mehul filed a second petition which is yet to be decided.
Mehul, who is still a fugitive from the Indian government and claims he is being falsely accused, argues that the release of the content of the show would be detrimental to his name and reputation and that the courts are obligated to ensure that he has a fair trial (if and when he stands trial, given that he’s now a citizen of Antigua).
Netflix is arguing that the episode in question is about Mehul’s nephew, Nirav, and only features clips of Mehul in interviews with news channels like the BBC, which are already in the public domain. They also claim that since Mehul now claims citizenship in another country, he’s out of bounds to try and seek relief through the Indian court system.
Keep watching this space for updates on the Bad Boy Billionaires premiere.