Two more arrests in the video piracy racket have further exposed the involvement of senior company executives in the syndicate.
The Crime Branch of the city police on Wednesday arrested Neerav Shah (30), manager (overseas distribution), Reliance Big Pictures and Kalapi Ragda (29), head of overseas distribution, Shemaroo Films. Eight people have been arrested in the case so far.
Crime Branch sources said Ragda, a management graduate, used to draw a monthly salary of more then Rs 1 lakh. “Shah and Ragda were responsible for the distribution of films worldwide and hence knew whom prints of the films were going to,” sources said.
The police had, on Tuesday, arrested Rajesh Chowdhary (34), an associate Vice-President of UFO — a post-production company, Gurgadas Bhakta (44), business development manager of Adlabs Films and four others for illegally circulating and distributing at least 11 new Hindi films in the national and international market through satellite. A Karachi-based person named Asif, who is said to be the brain behind the syndicate, is still at large said the police.
“During investigations, we learnt that Chowdhary also supplied prints to other offshoots operating in the pirated movie business,” said Rakesh Maria, joint commissioner of police (crime).
“Since the matter is with the legal system of the country. Anyone found guilty, of any wrong doing, as far as the law of the country is concerned, will be strictly dealt with as per the law of the region,” said the BIG pictures spokesperson. Shemaroo Films distanced itself from the case. “This doesn’t shock us anymore more and we don’t endorse it,” said Hiren Gada, director and spokesperson of Shemaroo Entertainment. “We are trying to find out how the nexus works. If he (Ragda) is found guilty we will take the strictest actions from our side, this is not acceptable, the industry must come together to fight this at the earliest.”
Maria added that similar to the modus operandi adopted by those arrested on Tuesday Chowdhary, who is a common link, supplied prints of unreleased films to Shah, who in turn forwarded them to Ragda. Ragda, through middlemen, would forward the prints on the Internet to a person called Zuber in Pakistan.
It was from Pakistan, that the films were distributed all over the world, the police said. Digital video discs of yet to be released films like Fast Forward, What’s your Raashee? and Dil Bole Hadippa were seized from the accused on Wednesday. The duo was operating with its associates for the last three months, police said.