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D-Company linked to Bollywood piracy: US lawmaker

April 15, 2009 13:09 IST
Identifying Dawood Ibrahim as the 'godfather' of India's organised crime, an influential US lawmaker has said the gangster's D-company, which also supports Al Qaeda, is heavily involved in Bollywood and linked to piracy in a big way.

"If you think about it, the godfather of godfathers, as he's called, of Indian organised crime, Dawood Ibrahim, is linked to piracy in a big way," United States Congressman Ed Royce told a field hearing on piracy orgnaised by the US House of Representatives's Committee on Foreign Affairs in Los Angeles.

"Frankly he is a big supporter of Al Qaeda, and in the past, also the LeT (Lashkar-e-Tayiba)," Royce said, and held Dawood responsible for the serial blasts in Mumbai on March 12, 1993.

The Republican lawmaker told the hearing last week that "D-Company is the operation" run by Dawood now.

"It's now integrated into every part of the Indian filmmaking industry, from distribution to loan-sharking, and I guess a special irony here, for those of you who saw Slumdog Millionaire is the fact that a lot was made of organised crime there and the way in which corruption has that insidious effect," he said.

"Think, for a minute: The very people portrayed, the very organised crime syndicate, are involved today in pirating and undermining Bollywood, and undermining Hollywood," he said during the hearing, according to a transcript made available to PTI.

"If they weren't tied to terrorists that were engaged in this kind of activity we'd have enough to worry about; but this should really focus our attention, I'm afraid. The high profit margins in this kind of crime make it little wonder why gangsters and terrorists have turned to piracy," Royce said.

In his opening remarks, US Congressman Howard Berman, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said India needs to seriously address the issue of Intellectual Property Rights protection and prevent piracy of movies, which is resulting in huge loss to the entertainment industry both in Hollywood and Bollywood.

"Its own homegrown entertainment industry, Bollywood, is subject to many of the same concerns that plague Hollywood. We need to do better at protecting Bollywood films when pirated copies are sold in mom and pop shops here in the US," the Democrat said.

"As evident with the crossover success and number of pirated copies of Slumdog Millionaire viewed in India, India needs to enforce adequate protections for multinational innovation as well," he said.

Lalit Jha in Washington, DC
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