Mumbai: Ace cricketer and former India captain MS Dhoni has alleged before Delhi High Court that a mobile firm was still using his name by projecting him as its brand ambassador despite termination of the agreement between them way back in December 2012.
The High Court pulled up the top official of Maxx Mobilink Pvt Ltd after taking note of the plea of former captain that its orders have been defied by the firm. “Why are you (Maxx) not complying with the order? You have to follow the court’s direction…both parties are directed to comply with the order dated April 21, 2016 before the next date of hearing that is July 28,” Justice Manmohan said.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Dhoni seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against the company’s CMD Ajjay Agarwal for defying its November 17, 2014 direction asking Maxx Mobilink to “refrain from selling any products” which uses the name of the cricketer in commercials.
The court had also passed a similar order on April 21 last year asking Agarwal to inform about the steps taken to comply with the 2014 direction asking the firm to refrain from selling any product, claiming to be endorsed by Dhoni. The recent direction came after Dhoni’s counsel Suchinto Chatterji alleged that the firm has not yet complied with its previous directions.
Advocate Sanjeev Bhandari, appearing for the firm, said it never indulged in misusing Dhoni’s name to take any advantage. Dhoni had an endorsement agreement with the company which had expired in December 2012. Earlier, the court had asked Maxx to give details of the steps taken by it to remove Dhoni’s name and photograph from its social media sites including its website and Facebook.
The November 2014 direction was passed on a plea by Dhoni and Rhiti Sports, alleging that Maxx Mobilink had not paid dues worth crores of rupees which was agreed upon for using the cricketer’s name on their products. Dhoni’s counsel had said the endorsement agreement between him and the company had expired in December 2012 but Maxx was still using his name to sell its products and not paying him the dues.
The cricketer, in his contempt plea, has also sought a direction to seize all the products/mobile handsets and such other articles where his name and image is being used to sell and promote these products.