Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) raided premises of five renowned music companies — Universal, T-series, Sa Re Ga Ma and YRF Music — for non-payment of royalties worth several crores and laundering that money into investments.
The raids were carried on as part of a 2015 case, which was initiated after several Bollywood personalities, including script-writer-Javed Akhtar complained about non-payment of royalties. The raids were part of the ED’s probe into the 2015 Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) case against the Indian Performing Right Society (IPRS) and the Phonographic Performance Ltd (PPL).
The searches were carried out in 12 locations across Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata. The ED had attached assets worth Rs 13 crore of the PPL and mutual funds worth Rs 70.17 crore of the IPRS in connection with the case’s investigation in 2016.
It is alleged that the music companies have not paid royalties to the tune of several crores to artists, lyricists and composers over several years. The searches came in the backdrop of the ED recording the statement of Mr Akhtar in May 2017 pertaining to non-payment of royalties by music companies. Mr Akhtar is the chairman of the IPRS board of directors who was also allegedly cheated by the PPL.
The investigation revealed that PPL allegedly indulged into a criminal conspiracy to pocket the royalty amount that had to be divided in a predefined ratio by the lyricists, composers, music directors and publishers or the music companies. “The money was however laundered by the music companies into other activities. We are yet to ascertain those details,” said ED official who conducted raids in Mumbai.
The ED teams have seized several incriminating documents pertaining to the record of royalty collections over the period and its fraudulent use, sources said. The documents will be collated from Kolkata and Delhi to study and ascertain money trail.
Following the 2015 case, ED learnt that the IPRS had assigned their rights to issue user licences and collect royalties to the PPL on the basis of revenue sharing. PPL however indulged into criminal conspiracy and the due was not paid to the IPRS.
What is PPL?
PPL is a copyright society for sound track recording companies and it also issues licences to the users of sound or music recordings for public performance. It holds public performance and radio broadcasting rights for over 5 lakh multilingual songs