Staff Reporter

Directs him to restore IG Rishi Raj Singh's anti-piracy powers

Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan summoned Director-General of Police (DGP) Raman Srivastava to his official residence on Friday morning and ordered him to restore the power of the Inspector-General (IG) of Police, Crime Branch, to conduct anti-piracy raids in the State.

On Thursday, the DGP had issued an order restraining IG, Crime Branch, Rishi Raj Singh from searching a large private firm that makes film and music CDs and DVDs in Kochi. The DGP had issued the order on the ground that the IG, Crime Branch, was merely the nodal officer for anti-piracy operations in the State. His task was to collate information about anti-piracy operations conducted by the State police. The job of enforcing the Copy Right Act was vested with the local police and only the Additional Director-General of Police, Operations, had State-wide jurisdiction in the matter.

Controversy

The order became controversial when it became evident that the private firm was owned by the wife of Inspector-General of Police Tomin Thachankery. Some top members of the anti-piracy cell of the Indian Music Industry (IMI) were present with him in Kochi.

Last week, the Crime Branch had raided a video rental and sales shop in the city and seized 9,336 CDs and DVDs suspected to be duplicated products. One of the accused in the case had reportedly told the agency that 50 per cent of the allegedly fake CDs and DVDs seized from the outlet were supplied by the firm in Kochi. Speaking to journalists in front of his official residene, Mr. Achuthanandan lauded Mr. Rishi Raj Singh. He said the officer had acted in the best interests of the law. The Chief Minister said he had told the DGP that by restraining Mr. Rishi Raj Singh from conducting the raid, the police had worked to the advantage of "persons who indulge in fraud." "I asked him (DGP), had not his actions made the Government, the Police Department and himself vulnerable to criticism and disrepute. He had no answer. I ordered him to restore Mr. Singh's powers and report back to me immediately."

Meanwhile, the DGP has ordered a State-wide operation against those who make, sell or give on rent fake CDs and DVDs. The order was communicated over wireless and fax to all district Superintendents of Police on Friday afternoon.

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