The Criminal Intelligence Unit of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch on Monday arrested the chief executive officer (CEO) of Maha Movie television channel in a copyright violation case. The police said that the accused, Sanjay Verma, was arrested for allegedly airing five films produced and directed by Prakash Mehra on Maha Movie channel without obtaining the rights from the makers.
Maha Movie is among the channels, including Republic TV, Box Cinema, Fakt Marathi, News Nation and Wow TV, named in the TRP scam for manipulating television rating points. Verma is not named in the TRP case, said police.
During the course of the TRP investigation, the police said they found that Maha Movie and Box Cinema had aired films without obtaining necessary rights from filmmakers in 2020.
The police said that Box Cinema was the first to come on their radar. Mehra’s son Puneet had lodged a complaint against Box Cinema in March last year at Juhu police station for allegedly airing the movie Zanjeer on March 12, 2020, without permission.
In the complaint, Puneet had said that Mehra was the sole copyright holder of the film.
A case was registered in October last year after which two persons, identified as Raju Khan and Ghanshyam Suraj Giri, were arrested by the Juhu police for allegedly supplying prints of Zanjeer movie to Box Cinema.
The CEO of Box Cinema channel, Narayan Sharma, had applied and managed to obtain anticipatory bail in the case from the sessions court.
The case got transferred to the CIU on January 1.
“On January 12, we raided the office of Box Cinema channel in Malad and seized the server owned by the company and various other documents,” said an officer.
During investigations, the police found that Maha Movie channel had also aired movies Jadugar, Laawaris, Zanjeer, Mohabbat ke Dushman and Muqaddar ka Sikandar between June 10 and November 10 last year without seeking appropriate permissions from the filmmakers.
“They had aired these films on Amitabh Bachchan’s birthday in 2020,” said an officer.
Late on Monday, CIU officials arrested Verma from his residence. He was produced before a court on Tuesday and remanded in police custody till January 25.