Kashmir-based cricket bat manufacturer Alfa Sports has sought INR 500 Cr in damages in a notice sent to Sony as well as Tramboo Sports, a startup that pitched on Shark Tank India
The notice, a copy of which has been seen by Inc42, is in relation to compensation for the damages, business loss, mental agony caused by alleged distortion of facts by Tramboo Sports
Saad Tramboo and Hamad Tramboo are alleged to have made misleading statements on the show about technology and their competitive advantage in the bat manufacturing industry
Kashmir-based cricket bat manufacturer Alfa Sports & Co has sought INR 500 Cr in damages in a notice sent to Sony Entertainment Television Ltd, broadcaster of Shark Tank India as well as two participants in the show.
Alfa Sports & Co has named Saad Tramboo and Hamad Tramboo, cofounders of Tramboo Sports Pvt Ltd, in its legal notice. The duo pitched on Shark Tank India’s season 3 in an episode that aired on January 30, 2024.
The notice, a copy of which has been seen by Inc42, is in relation to compensation for the damages, business loss, and mental agony caused by alleged distortion of facts by Tramboo Sports during their pitch on Shark Tank India.
Alfa Sports claimed that India’s bat manufacturing industry in general and the company, in particular, have been in the business of “lite willow making” for several years and have taken exception to on-air claims made by Tramboo Sports that they have sole manufacturing capabilities for such bats.
Fawazul Kabir, a spokesperson for the Cricket Bat Manufacturers Association of Kashmir (CBMAK), told Inc42 that Tramboo Sports cofounders source the cricket willows used to manufacture bats from Alfa Sports. But they have allegedly shown this as being their own product on Shark Tank India.
“We are going to take this case to criminal court if Sony TV and Tramboo Sports do not tender an immediate apology on national TV to hardworking cricket bat manufacturers of the valley. What was most astonishing was that Alfa Sports which was one of the vendors of Tramboo Sports was directly selling them the bats and Alfa has the invoices to show for this. This is a breach of vendor contract,” Kabir added.
The notice further stated Tramboo Sports only deals with sourcing and stocking bats and are not into manufacturing. “In reality, there are around 400 manufacturing units across the indigenous industry in the valley. Due to the false claims made by Tramboo Sports co-founders, the original manufacturer has witnessed loss in business confidence, dip in sales and his exports have taken a hit,” one portion of the notice reads.
CBMAK’s Kabir also questioned Tramboo Sports’ claims on the show about having technology to bring Kashmir willows at par with the English willows is not unique to the company. He added that this was a government initiative announced by the former J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
“In fact, willow storage facilities and technology clusters were established in Kashmir several years ago. This is not a unique proposition of Tramboo Sports,” Kabir added.
The cofounders of Tramboo Sports, who hail from a noted Kashmiri business family, claimed on air that the manufacturing and storage facility is owned by their grandfather.
The company got fair recognition on Shark Tank India with all the judges willing to invest in the company. Lenskart cofounder and CEO Peyush Bansal and boAt cofounder and CMO Aman Gupta together committed to investing INR 30 Lakh for 4% equity stake in the company.
Commenting on the issue, Hamaad Tramboo said in a statement that Tramboo Sports never asserted itself as the sole manufacturer in the industry and clearly mentioned that there are over 300 manufacturing units in Kashmir.
Additionally, as a direct-to-consumer (D2C) brand, Tramboo Sports said it currently does not possess any manufacturing facility and operates through contract manufacturing. However, the company conducts the ‘seasoning’ process in its own facility, the statement said.
Highlighting the challenge of condensing an hour-long video into a 12-minute segment for television, Hamaad Tramboo said that several aspects favourable to Kashmiri manufacturers were not fully highlighted during the programme.
“We also request everyone not to fall for baseless allegations spread by few for their own benefit and fame, (and to) rather rejoice the moment of Kashmir Willow and our industry getting… recognition,” the statement added.