Defamation complaint by Adidas AG: Court summons ex-Reebok MD

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A former managing director of Reebok India Company (RIC) has been summoned as an accused by a Delhi court in a criminal defamation complaint filed against him by Germany-based Adidas AG.

Metropolitan magistrate Navita Kumari summoned Subhinder Singh Prem, whose service was terminated in March last year, considering that he had "prima facie" given defamatory remarks against Adidas AG.

The court's order came on a plea filed by Adidas AG which sought Prem's prosecution alleging that he "deliberately and willfully" defamed it by giving "various false, disparaging, defamatory and libelous statements".

"Thus, from the testimony of CW-1 (complainant witness) and the material on record, prima facie a case under section 500 IPC (defamation) is disclosed against the accused (Prem) and accordingly he be summoned for the said offence...," the magistrate said and fixed the matter for March 27 next year.

The court also observed that in view of the materials placed before it and the statement of the complainant witness, "the abovesaid remarks made by the accused (Prem) against complainant (Adidas AG), prima facie appear to be defamatory".

In its plea filed through advocate Vijay Aggarwal, Adidas AG said that it was a parent company of the Adidas Group and has about 170 subsidiaries worldwide, including RIC and Adidas India Marketing Pvt Ltd (AIMPL).

It said Prem joined RIC in April 1995 and was appointed as MD in 2003 but his service was terminated in March 2012 on "account of identification of certain fraudulent activities in the conduct of the affairs of RIC".

It alleged Prem gave various "malicious and defamatory" remarks against Adidas AG in the media to "wreak vengeance for the termination of services and with an intention to tarnish" the reputation of the company.

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