For the second time in a week, the Mumbai police Crime Branch busted a major video piracy syndicate, by arresting five operatives from Mumbai and Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
This comes close after the Crime Branch recently arrested eight people, including a senior official from a major film distribution company for piracy.
According to a US India Business Council/Ernst & Young 2008 report, the Indian film industry lost Rs 4,640 crore to piracy.
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) Rakesh Maria, on Tuesday, said that Chirag Rawal (29) Mois Roopwala (37) and Resham Mehta (19) were arrested from Ahmedabad, while Imran Sheikh (26) and Ashfaq Beig (31) were held from Mumbai. They were arrested during a joint operation conducted by the Social Service Branch (SSB) and Unit X of the Crime Branch, on Monday.
Maria said Rawal was the kingpin of the video piracy syndicate in Gujarat. Five DVD writer machines (capable of printing hundreds of copies per hour) along with 15,000 inlay cards had been recovered from him.
Nineteen DVD machines, a television set and 1,000 duplicate copies of Hindi films (including the latest Dil Bole Hadippa) were recovered from Roopwala.
Resham Mehta, brother of the notorious Delhi-based pirate Jitendra Mehta was arrested with a laptop and 15 duplicate prints of some latest Bollywood movies.
Jogeshwari residents Sheikh and Beig approached loaders engaged by distributors in transporting the prints and offered them Rs 20,000 - 25,000 to sneak a print out for three hours.
“The print would be taken to a lab to be converted to a digital format before being finally burnt on a DVD,” Maria said. These prints were also being sent to Pakistani piracy kingpin Asif, from where they would be distributed all over the world.
National Godown at Mahim and a conversion lab in Andheri have been identified as two places where the duo operated, while four more godowns are being searched for, Maria said.
The five have been remanded to police custody till October 7, while a hunt is on for some loaders and lab officials.