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Film producers tell Rakesh Maria traffic cops extorting crores from them

Tuesday, 8 July 2014 - 7:05am IST | Agency: dna

An 8-member delegation from film and television industry met Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria on Saturday and brought to his notice the corruption prevailing in traffic department and how traffic officials were exploiting people in the industry.

The delegation claimed that money extorted by traffic officials for various (police) permissions runs into crores (of rupees). The delegation also brought to Maria's notice the problems people in the industry faced from unions.

The delegation, represented by Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPAA) and Indian Films and Television Directors Association, comprised industry bigwigs like Ramesh Taurani, Vikas Mohan, TP Agarwal, JD Majithia and Ashoke Pandit. The meeting lasted over an hour.

"There were some important issues which we wanted to bring to the notice of the police commissioner. Even after we shoot movies after taking all the required permissions, police extort money from us. It starts with the beat marshal visiting the location and ends with cops in police van coming there and demanding money. By the time the shooting of a film is completed, we would have paid up a bribe of around rupee one crore," Pandit told dna.

He cited the example of a recently released movie that was shot in Mumbai for 60 days. Its producer had to cough up Rs 1 crore in bribes to traffic officials. "As a producer, if I have taken all the required permission, why should I pay more? And in case I am shooting without having taken permission, the police should collect fine from us instead of extorting money. There have been instances of the police demanding money even when we are shooting in a private property," he said.

"Another problem is, if a film is being shot in the suburbs, the producer has to get permission from the Worli traffic officer. Maria has said he would instruct all police stations to start a single window procedure for granting permission for shooting films/television programmes. He has also said strict action would be taken against corrupt officers who visit the sets for extorting money. An officer found guilty may even be suspended," Pandit said.

"Of late a dangerous trend—film unions of political parties barging into a film/television set and disrupting the shoot on various pretexts and threatening the unit with dire consequences if their demands are not addressed immediately—has developed. The commissioner has assured us that such unruly behavior would not be tolerated and that strict action would be taken against the perpetrators. He has also instructed officers to write to all police stations in the city stating that action would be taken against anyone perpetrating unlawful activities on film sets," he said.

"Film and television producer's delegation had met me regarding security and issues of police permission. We have tried to make the procedure as less cumbersome as possible," police chief Rakesh Maria said.

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