‘We’re independent of Twitter’: Twitter India MD Manish Maheshwari’s submission in Karnataka HC

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Twitter India managing director Manish Maheshwari on Thursday described it as an “independent entity,” claiming that its parent company, Twitter Inc, “does not have a single share in it,” according to news agency PTI. The submission was made by Maheshwari’s legal counsel in the Karnataka high court during hearing by a single-judge bench on his plea against the Uttar Pradesh Police’s notice to him seeking his personal appearance in connection with the video of an alleged hate crime in Loni in northern state’s Ghaziabad.

“Twitter Inc is a parent company. We have absolutely nothing to do with it. Twitter India is an independent organisation and independent institution,” CV Nagesh, Maheshwari’s counsel, responded on behalf of his client when asked by Justice G Narendra whether the social media giant could be called as a “parent company.” Nagesh further described Twitter India as “only an affiliated company” of Twitter Inc. This prompted the judge to point out that there is no such thing as an “affiliated company.” Justice Narendra further said that in normal terms, such a thing is called a “sister company” or “associate.”

Responding to the judge’s observation, the counsel said, “Let me go on record that Twitter Inc does not hold a “single share” in Twitter India. That’s why I’m submitting that it’s a totally different entity.” Nagesh also proposed to place a memo on record on Friday that Twitter Inc, headquartered in San Francisco in the United States, is “not even a shareholder.”

Arguing for the Ghaziabad Police, P Prasanna Kumar, its legal counsel, warned of “consequences” for submission by Maheshwari’s team that they don’t know “who Twitter India is.” Further arguing that 99% of Twitter India’s shares are with Twitter Inc, Kumar said that all of Maheshwari’s colleagues have been representing Twitter India, as well as Twitter Inc, before agencies of the Union government, up to this day.

On this, Nagesh went on to describe the shareholding pattern. “Twitter International Company, headquartered in Ireland, has 9999 shares, while Twitter Netherlands has one share. However, it is Twitter Inc which runs the platform,” he explained.

The Karnataka high court, which, on June 24, granted interim protection from arrest to the Bengaluru-based Maheshwari, was earlier scheduled to pronounce its judgment on July 13, which was further deferred to July 20, and then to July 22. The judgment is now expected to be pronounced on Friday. The Uttar Pradesh Police, on June 29 challenged in the Supreme Court the high court’s order granting interim protection to Maheshwari.

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