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Royalty row: Aditya Chopra, Bhushan Kumar summoned by Enforcement Directorate

The directorate has summoned several music company heads including Chopra, Kumar, Shridhar Subramaniam and D Sanyal to show cause for not paying royalty to lyricists and composers.

Aditya Chopra

Our Correspondent

Yash Raj Films' head, Aditya Chopra, and the managing director of T-Series, Bhushan Kumar, are among the top names to be summoned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for alleged non-payment of royalty to lyricists and music composers. The summons were issued by the Mumbai wing of the agency after an FIR was filed by popular Hindustani classical music singer, Shubha Mudgal, with the Delhi police.

Among the others summoned are Shridhar Subramaniam, president, India and Middle East, Sony Music Entertainment and D Sanyal of Universal Music Group. The agency has already recorded statements by Bhushan Kumar and Vikram Mehra, managing director, Saregama Music.

Hindustan Times, a daily, quoted an ED official saying, "The investigations are on to check where the money has gone."

The summons arrive close on the heels of recent raids by the ED on eight prominent music companies on Friday, 3 November. According to primary assessment after the raids, the officials suggested that several companies had shied away from paying almost 50% of the revenue share to music composers and lyricists. The case is currently being investigated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) 2002 and the Indian Copyright Act, amended in 2012.

In a quote to the tabloid, Mid-Day, singer Chitra Singh, who had filed the initial complaint with the ED in December 2016 said, "I wasn't sure as nobody was helping me. It's been a tough fight for a single woman like me. But ED took up my case, thanks to a bunch of nice officers in Mumbai. Now I'm confident that the agency will take my case to its logical end and punish the guilty."

Chitra, wife of late Jagjit Singh, had in the wake of the raids said that she is "happy that several other people in the industry, whom I may not know personally, will now get justice. All of us were cheated big time."

The new FIR by Shubha Mudgal also has the Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS) and Phonographic Performance Limited (PPL) being investigated by the Economic Offences Wing (EOW). Officials have reported that the IPRS and PPL have been ignoring paying up royalties to artistes and singers. Singers and composers are liable to receive a royalty if their compositions are used as caller tunes, or for any other commercial purposes.

The FIR states, "A large amount of money has been amassed by these music companies as royalties in the guise of licence fees, service charges, etc, from telecom operators, TV broadcasters, online platform operators and other digital medium, by claiming to be sole and exclusive owners of the rights. They, on a continuous basis, denied the composers and lyricists their share of royalty."

Heads of the music companies are expected to meet the ED and present an explanation on 9 November.