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Sleuths arrest man in pirated music haul

The city police on Monday evening arrested a man and recovered pirated audio cassettes and compact discs worth more than Rs 11 lakh from him. Nine copier machines, that can record 25 cassettes at a time, were also seized.

The detective department and enforcement branch of Calcutta Police had been on the alert for some time to net the illegal players in the local market. Police sources said a couple of days ago, the detective department had also recovered cassettes and compact discs worth Rs 8 lakh.

During the swoop at Chandni Chowk on Monday, more than 25,000 cassettes of recent Hindi films and other popular music were seized.

“A few days ago, we raided a shop on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road and arrested the owner with goods worth several lakh. During interrogation, the man revealed that there were other hubs that he could lead us to. On the basis of the information provided by him, we raided the house at Chandni Chowk and recovered the equipment and the cassettes and CDs,” said an official of the enforcement branch.

“Similar raids will be carried out in the days ahead, as we have been asked by senior government officers to bring to an end the malpractice. We are also going to conduct raids at a few roadside printing units, where we learn that duplicate cassette covers are printed to market these fake products,” the official added.

According to senior police officers, the film industry runs up a huge loss because of the fake products that are sold at many outlets in Calcutta and all the other major metros in the country.

“It has been estimated that the illegal market makes a profit in crores by selling pirated cassettes and CDs. That is the reason we have been asked to get the culprits. These studios are located mainly in the central part of the city, but we have information about others located elsewhere,” the official said.

Police suspect that some of these men have contacts in the cassette companies and production houses, as they manage to get the ‘mother cassette’ well in advance.

“There are two or three men in the city who are said to have ‘contacts’. Much before the cassette hits the market or even is formally released, these illegal traders get hold of an original or a ‘mother’ cassette. Then, a few other copies are made from this original and circulated at various small studios,” the official explained.

The copier machines that have been impounded indicate that thousands of cassettes are manufactured every day. These cassettes are then packed and sealed at other units and circulated, along with the original ones, in the local market.

During another raid on Monday, sleuths of the enforcement branch recovered 9,000 fake pouches of a popular brand of pre-packed spices. The plastic pouch raid was conducted on Maharshi Debendra Road.

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