ED had conducted searches at five top music companies, the central agency has also summoned other directors
A day after conducting searches at eight premises of five top music companies across Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata, the Enforcement Directorate on Saturday recorded the statement of T-Series managing director Bhushan Kumar at the ED’s zonal office in Mumbai. Kumar had reached the ED office around 11 am on Saturday, and was quizzed till 9 pm. He has been called to the ED office again on Sunday for the recording of his statement to continue.
Sources in the ED said searches were conducted on Friday after the agency registered a case with its zonal office in Delhi against Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) and the Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) in connection with disputes with artistes regarding royalties.
In 2015, too, a case was lodged against the IPRS and PPL, and the ED had also attached mutual funds of IPRS. “Recently, we have registered a fresh money laundering case in a royalty dispute of artistes on the basis of FIR registered with Economic Offense Wing of Delhi Police in December 2016. The FIR was registered after singer Shubha Mudgal and another artist lodged a complaint alleging that artists and lyricist are not getting their rightful royalties. The initial estimated amount of alleged royalty to be paid to the artistes is around Rs 1,000 crore over a span of four to five years, but we suspect the amount can go higher. The highest chunk of this amount lies with a certain music firm,” alleged an ED officer on the condition of anonymity.
He added, “The two entities booked collected money from consumers, but did not pass on royalty to artistes and lyricists.”
According to the ED officials, IPRS and PPL had not been making royalty payments to artistes and composers of songs. As per policy, music companies have to share royalties with artistes and composers of songs if they are played as caller tunes or used for other commercial purposes.
On Friday, the central agency had conducted searches at eight premises, five in Mumbai, two in Delhi and one location in Kolkata.
The officials said searches were conducted at the premises of five major music companies to collect the documents and records of their financial transactions. The ED has also summoned other directors for recording their statements.
When contacted, a representative for T-Series said surveys had been carried out and they co-operated with the agency.