Hyderabad police have arrested six persons for allegedly trying to extort money from Karan Johar and other producers of the blockbuster film Bahubali 2: The Conclusion, by threatening to circulate a pirated copy. Among the arrested is the owner of a theatre in Bihar. The gang demanded Rs 15 lakh from the producers for not uploading a copy on the internet, said deputy commissioner of police Avinash Mohanty on Tuesday. Johar is co-producer of Hindi version of the film.
As per the complaint lodged on April 29, a man called Rahul Mehta, who said he represented an `anti-piracy agency’, approached the producers and told them that a pirated high definition print of the film was available. “Mehta showed them a sample video…and informed that release of pirated copy would be withheld for a few days and demanded money,” Mohanty said. The producers kept up talking with him while informing the police. Mehta was arrested on May 11 from Jubilee Hills area of Hyderabad.
He named Jitender Mehta, Taufiq and Mohammad Ali as accomplices. The three were arrested in Delhi the next day. Jitender and Taufiq have past criminal record and were arrested by Jabalpur police in Madhya Pradesh for piracy of the “Bahubali-The Beginning” in 2015. Divakar Kumar, owner of a theatre in Begusarai district of Bihar, and one Chandan were arrested from Patna. Monu, who is absconding, and Divakar made digital copy of the film, the DCP said.
For digital distribution of a film, theatre owners get `encryption key’. The accused used this key to make a pirated copy, DCP Mohanty said. The gang regularly made pirated copies of Bollywood films, he added. Further probe is on.