Datawind sues Indian biz assoc for defamation

Manufacturer behind country's budget tablet Aakash project sends legal notice to India Cellular Association for 'defaming' the U.K.-based firm, and issuing statements harming company's commercial interests, report says.

Datawind, the maker behind India's budget tablet project, is suing the Indian Cellular Association (ICA) for 'defaming' the firm, and spreading defamatory statements, according to a report.

In a report by The Economic Times (ET) over the weekend, Datawind CEO Sunnet Singh Tuli said: "We have sent a legal notice to them for spreading false reports against us in the media and in government meetings including places such as the department of IT."

Tuli was speaking at the company's first press conference since the launch of the Aakash tablet, according to ET. The newspaper said that he singled out local tablet makers--also ICA members--who lost the tender, of spreading defamatory statements.

According to ET, ICA president Pankaj Mohindroo confirmed he had received a legal notice from Datawind. "The legal notice is baseless. As an association we get invited to consult government on various issues. It's our duty to advice the government what is in best interests of the country and its visionary Aakash project."

"There are about 40 tablet makers in the market today. Only 7 to 8 of them are our members," Mohindroo added. 

The newspaper noted that ICA had written to the government last year claiming that big players such as Samsung and Nokia were better positioned to handle the tablet project.

It also pointed out that Datawind's legal notice to ICA comes just days after the ompany itself was hit by a legal notice from its own supplier Quad for non-payment of dues. This was a countersuit, following Datawind's accusation against Quad for copyright violation.

The Aakash budget tablet project has been hit by a series of snags, with the pilot missing expectations in quality and revision in its price tag.