Maharashtra government to form anti-piracy squad for Mumbai

MUMBAI: Maharashtra home minister RR Patil indicated his support for associations working tirelessly towards fighting piracy. Alliance Against Copyright Theft (AACT) formed earlier this year has been working closely with members from the industry and government to support initiatives taken to wipe out any form of movie piracy.

Patil’s decision to create a special Anti-Piracy squad to conduct raids has come as a respite for AACT. The Home Minister showed his support with AACT representatives when they met him on Thursday. He in turn has asked the Mumbai Police to increase their vigilance against pirated movie vendors.

Earlier in the week Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) President Kripashankar Singh had requested the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan to take stringent measures to check video piracy in Mumbai and other parts of the state. He said "We have asked the chief minister that the menace of video piracy is spreading fast and strong measures are needed to tackle it."

Acting tough on video piracy, Maharashtra Home Department would soon appoint a team to stop the business along with an anti-piracy law it has already implemented. "The State Government is keen on destroying the nexus of the piracy business and a team would be appointed to stop the practice," Patil said earlier in the week.

Under the MPDA (Maharashtra Prevention of Dangerous Activities) Act the offender will be punished with a jail term between six months and three years and/or a fine of Rs 50,000 to Rs two lakh.

Post this decision SS Branch of Mumbai police and AACT conducted a joint operation in the last two days at key areas in Mumbai such as Oshiwara, Andheri, Amboli, Malad, Jogeshwari E, Malad W and Lower Parel. Around 19479 pirated DVDs estimated to be worth close to Rs. 20 lakhs have been raided. This resulted in 18 arrests so far.

SS Branch & AACT also managed to shut down the Andheri west station, which is the haven for DVD piracy for two full days on Wednesday & Thursday. Encouraged by the success of this operation, AACT and the enforcement agencies are now planning to replicate the strategy in other locations within the city. AACT is also exploring the possibilities of implementing this model in other major cities across the country.

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