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BETA BEGETS TROUBLE FOR SAAS 

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FROM DEBASHIS BHATTACHARYYA   |   Mumbai   |   Published 23.02.02, 12:00 AM

Mumbai, Feb. 23 :    Mumbai, Feb. 23:  Ekta Kapoor had the Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi's script written; Birhanmumbai Municipal Corporation now wants to have it re-written. It is the latest twist to the unfolding drama in the Virani family, something STAR Plus, which broadcasts the popular serial, had not bargained for. The corporation has filed a complaint with the police against the channel and Kapoor's Balaji Telefilms for 'encouraging' the banned sex determination test in Kyunki's February 5 episode. The episode showed an expecting Puja going through the test. She was elated when she learnt that she was going to bear a son. What made the corporation see red was that the doctor was shown congratulating the would-be mother of a male child. 'This clearly violated the Pre-natal Diagnostic Technology (Regulation & Prevention of Misuse) Act of 1994. The Act bans the test and its publicity in any form,' additional municipal commissioner Sitaram Kunte said. The IAS officer said the corporation was tasked with implementation of the Act. The offence is punishable with a three-year imprisonment and a fine of Rs 10,000. A BMC health officer, Sheikh Iqbal Ahmed Siddiqui, lodged the complaint at Andheri police station - where STAR TV's office is located. besides Kapoor and her company Balaji Telefilms, the channel has been named in the first information report as offenders. The real-life twist to the family drama came just when Kapoor tweaked its storyline to keep viewers glued to the serial running for two years. the new generation of Viranis took over from their aging grandparents just a week ago. 'It was not intentional. there was a slight lapse on the part of the writer of the script,' Kapoor said, denying she had 'ever wanted to encourage such a terrible practice'. A senior STAR official called the episode a 'genuine mistake'. He said the channel had already apologised to the viewers in a subsequent episode. 'We never meant to hurt anybody or break the law. the serial is for the women, not against them,' the channel official said, adding the issue was being 'blown unnecessarily'. BMC is not alone in taking umbrage at the episode. A number of non-government organisations has protested too. The State Women Commission said it planned to summon Kapoor as it received several complaints. The STAR official said a few NGOs protested to the channel for broadcasting the episode. 'We have already said sorry to them.' But the municipal body is not in the mood to listen. 'It is a popular serial watched by tens of thousands of people. you can imagine the impact of the wrong message it has sent,' Kunte said. Though the act came into force in 1994, very few state governments took it seriously till the Supreme Court passed a stricture recently. 'We are now determined to crack down on anybody either practicising or eulogising the terrible practice in any forms,' the municipal official said.    
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