TAMPA — The organizers of the International Indian Film Academy's awards on Monday responded to a lawsuit filed by an Orlando tour company that contends it helped bring the awards to the United States, then got shoved out of the picture.
The suit, filed in state court in New York, seeks $7 million in damages for Akarsh Kolaparth and his family's company, 7M Tours.
In response, Wizcraft International Entertainment, the parent company of the IIFA awards, said Kolaparth's complaints are without merit.
"The claims made by Akarsh/7M Tours in the matter are false and frivolous," Wizcraft director Sabbas Joseph said in a statement emailed to the Tampa Bay Times. "It is a concocted story lacking any substance. Since the matter is sub judice, we shall respond to these claims appropriately before the court."
The IIFA Weekend & Awards are scheduled for April 23-26, with the awards show taking place at Raymond James Stadium the evening of April 26.
Indian CEOs lining up for business forum
The IIFA weekend is not only about movies, music, fashion and culture.
Business and trade also are big focuses, with a two-day global business forum scheduled April 24-25 at the Tampa Convention Center. Trade between India and the United States topped $60 billion in 2012, and the Indian economy is now the 10th largest in the world. Forum participants include more than 100 executives from:
• Government (U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal; consul general of India Ajit Kumar, who is based in Atlanta; U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor; and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi).
• Higher education and the arts (University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft; University of Houston president Renu Khator; activist and actor Shabana Azmi; and Rajendra K. Pachauri, a Yale professor who chairs the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore).
• And, of course, business (Tata Motors president Ranjit Yadav; Infosys executive chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy; Syntel chairman Bharat Desai; Ambuja Neotia Group chairman Harshavardhan Neotia; Reliance Industries CEO Vivek Lall; and L&T Infotech CEO Mukesh Aghi).
To register, go to usf.edu/business/iifa/registration.aspx.