In an unfolding legal drama that grips the heart of India's cricket bat manufacturing industry, Alfa Sports & Co, a Kashmir-based cricket bat maker, has taken a bold step by issuing a formal legal notice directed towards Sony Entertainment Television, the broadcaster of Shark Tank India, as well as the co-founders of Tramboo Sports, Saad Tramboo and Hamad Tramboo.
The company has sought Rs 500 crore in damages, business loss, and mental agony caused by the distortion of facts, according to multiple media reports.
During an episode aired on January 30, 2024, in the third season of Shark Tank India, Tramboo Sports claimed to have unique manufacturing capabilities in the cricket bat industry.
However, Alfa Sports, a veteran in the 'lite willow making' sector, contested these claims, highlighting a breach of the vendor relationship and contract agreements.
Fawazul Kabir from the Cricket Bat Manufacturers Association of Kashmir (CBMAK) accused Tramboo Sports of presenting cricket willows sourced from Alfa Sports as their own product, demanding a public apology from both Sony TV and Tramboo Sports for the alleged misrepresentation.
The controversy has sparked a significant uproar within the cricket bat manufacturing community in Kashmir, with Kabir questioning the authenticity of Tramboo Sports' technology claims, pointing out that the technologies touted as unique by Tramboo were, in fact, part of a government initiative to elevate the quality of Kashmir willows.
He said that around 400 manufacturing units across Kashmir contribute to the industry, which is supported by government-backed willow technology and storage facilities.
Tramboo Sports, on their part, clarified that their operations are based on contract manufacturing and that they did not claim exclusive manufacturing rights.
It's worth mentioning that their appearance on Shark Tank India garnered attention from notable investors, including Peyush Bansal, co-founder and CEO of Lenskart, and Aman Gupta, co-founder and CMO of boAt, who agreed to invest Rs 30 lakh in the company.
The legal notice has the tension between traditional manufacturing practices and the modern marketing strategies employed by startups to gain national visibility.
Alfa Sports said that its demand for compensation is not just about financial restitution but also about restoring the reputation and trust of Kashmir's cricket bat manufacturers among their clientele.
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