Karnataka HC Blocks First Episode of Netflix's 'Crime Stories: India Detectives'

Sridhar Rao, a 28-year-old co-accused in the murder of 54-year-old Nirmala Chandrasekhar, said that the pilot would prejudice the case against him.

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New Delhi: In a setback to OTT platform Netflix, the Karnataka high court ordered the blocking of the first episode of a new web series, Crime Stories: India Detectives. On Friday, Justice B.M. Shyam Prasad, while hearing a petition moved by Sridhar Rao, a 28-year-old co-accused in the murder case of 54-year-old Nirmala Chandrasekhar, said that the pilot episode of the series, ‘A Murdered Mother’, should not be streamed as it could cause “harassment and prejudice to the petitioner”, reported Bar and Bench.

Rao had argued in his petition that the pilot episode contained visuals of the police probe against him and Amrutha Chandrasekhar, the daughter of the murder victim, who is also an accused in the case. He contended that the episode would interfere with his defence as it contained visuals from an interview recorded during the investigation and footage of a purported confession. Rao said that the episode would thus prejudice his right to a free and fair trial if allowed to be streamed.

“The Netflix is streaming the recording of the petitioner, made by Minnow Films Ltd, on his custodial interrogations, custodial interview, and the derogatory statement made by police during the investigation in a manner which is against the law,” the petition said, adding that the content also violated the petitioner’s privacy and exposes him to “ridicule and harassment” by the public.

The primary accused, Amrutha, is facing allegations that she killed her mother and attempted to kill her brother before fleeing to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands with Rao.

Responding to the petition, Justice Prasad ordered, “The content being available for viewing, the petitioner would be put to harassment and prejudice. In consideration of these submissions, the respondents, subject to further orders, are called upon to block streaming, broadcasting, telecasting or otherwise making available the content of the Episode No.1 of the Series 1 of the documentary “Crime Stories. India Detective” titled “A Murdered Mother” on Netflix.”

Earlier, Rao had moved the civil court to seek an interim injunction on the episode. When the civil court refused his request while also simultaneously issuing summons to the investigative agency, he moved the high court. The high court, while overturning the civil court’s order, said that “the delay in granting interim order would defeat the very purpose of the application as also the suit, and prejudice the petitioner’s interest without any remedy”.

The high court will hear the matter again on October 21, until which a temporary injunction on the episode will remain in place.