Best-selling Indian author Chetan Bhagat, who was slapped a defamation suit by a scion of the erstwhile princely state of Dumraon in Bihar in the year 2016, has tendered an unconditional apology to the royal family for “unintended confusion and misunderstanding” over the “fictional” references to the royal family of Bihar in one of his best-selling novel ‘Half Girlfriend’.

In his book, Chetan had portrayed the male members of the family as alcoholics and gamblers and therefore Chandra Vijay Singh, the eldest son of Maharaja Bahadur Kamal Singh, had slapped a defamation case of Rs 1 crore citing the reference in ‘Half Girlfriend’ to be “false and derogatory in nature”.

As per a report published by Hindustan Times, an out-of-out court settlement has been reached between Bhagat and Rupa Publishers and Singh.

In an apology, that has been presented by Shyam Moorjani, the lawyer who represented Bhagat and Rupa at New Delhi’s Tis Hazari courts and approved by the court that mentioned the suit stood disposed of.

Bhagat in his apology said, “I clarify that the lead character (in Half Girlfriend) Madhav Jha is stated to be a direct descendant of the royal family of Dumraon, which is not true. It has been passingly mentioned that the ancestors of the lead character were involved in gambling and alcoholism, leading to bankruptcy due to which the women of the family took charge of the affairs and managed the family.” He added, “I clarify that the aforesaid depiction of the royal family of Dumraon was completely based on fiction … I apologize to anyone if hurt by the said fictional representation of the assumed royal family in the novel.”

As per the terms of settlement in the court, Bhagat will publish his apology in a national newspaper and 2 local newspapers, including a Hindi newspaper that is in circulation in Dumraon, about 114km from Patna by June 15.