Oh shit, here we go again. I have another potential legal battle on my hands.
Brief Bio on Ajay Ahuja
Ajay Ahuja is known in the BTL industry by many people for his £15m property empire, which he started with just £500. He’s also known for his property sourcing company, The Ahuja Group, which sources Below Market Value (BMV) properties to investors for a fee. You can see more details about his company on his website.
My relationship with Ajay Ahuja
Ajay initially approached me in September 2009 about promoting his company on my website. After discussions, we came to an agreement, which lead to him advertising on my website for a few months. Unfortunately, he wasn’t generating as many leads as he wanted, and the leads he did receive weren’t converting, so we gracefully opted out of the relationship.
Everything was cool and we were on good terms.
When it started to go wrong for Ajay Ahuja
On the 2nd of November 2009, “Inside Out, London” On BBC1, did a report on Ajay Ahuja. Basically, people were claiming that they were being ripped off by Ajay Ahuja. Apparently his company was sourcing out properties that weren’t actually Below Market Value as advertised, and the disgruntled clients were finding it difficult to get in contact with Ajay Ahuja to get refunds.
I found this case particularly interesting because I had personally dealt with Ajay Ahuja, so I thought I would write about the issue, which you can all see, Inside Out, London On BBC, report on Ajay Ahuja. Ajay quickly found the article on my site. He seemed cool with it, despite the fact the report was dragging his name through mud. He even left a comment on my blog post and directed my readers towards his response to the BBC report on his own website.
I’d just like to clarify that I NEVER endorsed or bad mouthed his company at any point, I merely discussed what was said in the BBC report. However, I did want Ajay’s side of the story, because as we all know, the media can be biased. I got in contact with Ajay and asked if I could do an interview with him based on the BBC report. He was more than happy to answer my questions. I’m sure he was eager to push his side of the story out there.
At this point, everything between me and Ajay Ahuja was cool, so I got my interview with Ajay Ahuja.
When it started to get even worse for Ajay Ahuja
On the 29th April 2010 Sky news sent in 2 undercover journalists to investigate Ajay Ahuja’s practices, because like the BBC, they had also heard from unsatisfied customers.
Naturally, I followed up the story, and once again, I merely discussed the case, Ajay Ahuja Gets Investigated By Undercover Sky News Journalists.
I strictly ensured I didn’t pass judgment on whether Ajay’s company was guilty or innocent of what he was being accused of, I simply discussed the facts about what was being said in the report.
The legal threat from Ajay Ahuja
On the 1st May 2010 I receive an email from Ajay Ahuja, which I’ll briefly summarise below:
- Ajay asked me to remove any negative articles about him and his organisation from my site, including any videos and articles about him.
- He informed me that he now has a solicitor to defend his business
- He stated he does not want to get into a legal battle with me because he has been winning legal battles E.g. he has successfully eliminated 12 out of 14 cases bought to him by Landlord Action, and 2 of those cases are pending.
Legally, I’m not obligated to remove any content from my site unless it is breaking some form of law e.g. libelous, infringing copyright laws. I’ve been through this procedure 3 times now with various other companies.
If any of my articles are displaying illegal content, please specify exactly what is illegal and how. If that is the case, I will immediately remove the content and apologise for any inconvenience. I don’t want to host or be involved with any illegal practises. However, all the articles I have written about you haven’t been libelous because all I’ve done is state the facts based on the news reports, I haven’t expressed what is true or false.
Moreover, you have endorsed and commented on all my blog posts about you (apart from the latest Sky report). I even have emails of you discussing the content, with no sign of hesitation or concern. So requesting the removal of content months after it was published, which you were aware of, doesn’t seem fair.
Like you, I don’t want to get involved in a legal battle. So as said, if I’m breaking the law and you actually have grounds on taking legal action against me, please specify where and how, and I will happily and eagerly remove the content.
I hope we can come to some mutual agreement.
His response summerised:
- He asked me to remove the BBC video because it is a Copyright infringement
- He asked me to remove the SKY video because it is a Copyright infringement
- He asked me to remove all offensive postings and threatening comments towards himself and his staff.
- He stated that he will be taking BBC and Sky to court on various matters regarding what is the truth.
- Ajay ensures me he WILL be going after Sky.
- Ajay will go after smaller sites and publishers who have displayed false information on his company, if he thinks it’s worth it.
- Finally, if I comply with his 3 requests (removing the 2 videos and remove threatening comments) he advised me he would feel happy for now.
Unfortunately, you don’t own the copyright to those videos, so Sky and the BBC will have to file those cases with me personally, and I think you’re aware of that. Moreover, I’m not hosting those videos on my servers, so the BBC and SKY won’t even have a case against me.
If you tell me which comments in particular e.g. Page URL and comment number, I will have them removed, as long as they are actually of a threatening/abusive nature. So ultimately, I’m willing to do exactly what you want, besides from the 2 issues which you have no real rights over.
Like I said, I’ve not endorsed or bad mouthed your business, I’ve simply discussed what the reports said. And if you prove to win your cases, I will also report that!
I believe I’m being more than fair about this, and I’m following the rules by the law. Whenever you had issues about any of the comments on my site (e.g. when someone revealed your address), I immediately took action as a gesture of good will.
His Response summarised:
- He requested for my address so he can send me legal documents.
Ouch!!!! I guess business really is business with Ajay!! That’s a real shame.
- I’m still uncertain on which grounds Ajay is going to take legal action against me on. Does anyone have any ideas? Is his claim going to be, “you discussed a report which was on national TV, you can’t do that“?
- Ajay mentioned that he will go after smaller websites/publishers who have displayed false information on his company. The thing is, I’ve not said anything untrue. I’ve basically commented on what the BBC and SKY reports have said.
- I find it odd that Ajay suddenly has a problem with ALL the articles that have negatively mentioned his name and his company when he didn’t have a problem before. He was cool with the BBC report I discussed. The SKY report I covered was no different in nature. So why all of a sudden is he saying he is going to take legal action against me? *sigh*
- I understand and can even sympathize that Ajay must be pissed off that his company is getting such bad press, but surely it’s not a crime for someone to discuss what the media are already putting out there, or is it?
- I thought it was a bit weird that he told me to remove videos that he doesn’t even own the copyright to. However, I have removed the embedded video from the Sky report, and replaced it with a link to the video hosted by Sky News :)
- He never told me which abusive/threatening comments in specific he wanted me to remove, even though it was one of his requests. I asked him specifically which comments he had a problem with.
- I was/am willing to comply with every one of his requests as long as they are 1) reasonable 2) with in his grounds. Telling me to remove links to videos which he doesn’t own the copyright to is NOT with his grounds. Anyways, like I said, I’ve removed the embedded video.
- This whole issue is rather ironic. There’s a load of people filing cases against Ajay Ahuja for allegedly ripping them off, and in the meantime he’s in the process of filing a case against me.
- I’ve never said a bad word about Ajay Ahuja or his company, not even to this day. I’ve merely discussed what has been said in other reports. I still maintain that I don’t know enough to judge his business practices. However, I’m confident he has both satisfied and unsatisfied customers. Having said that, on a personal level, I think he’s demonstrating that he’s capable of being an extremely unreasonable and irrational individual.
Can anyone powerful/influential from SKY News or The BBC hear me?
Apparently Ajay is going after you guys, so we have common ground. On that note, can either of you guys lend me your lawyer(s)? Your generosity wouldn’t go unnoticed, I promise! Ta’