Mumbai: The Enforcement Directorate on Friday swooped down on five top music companies — Universal, T-series, Sa Re Ga Ma and YRF Music – in connection with a money laundering case.
Lyricist Javed Akhtar is among the complainants in the case along with other artists who have alleged non-payment of royalties and other gross irregularities in the functioning of the Indian Performing Right Society and the Phonographic Performance Limited. The ED had registered a case against the two entities under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on the basis of these complaints. The other two specific charges are cheating and criminal conspiracy. In May this year, Akhtar had also given a statement in this matter.
It is alleged that an amount of Rs 13.04 crore was retained by PPL, which led to non-payment of royalties to the members of the IPRS. In fact, last year, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 13 crore of PPL, describing it as “the “proceeds of crime.” Why should we have different deadlines for the linkage when the government has told the court in a recent affidavit that the deadline for linkage was being extended to March 31, asked senior advocate Shyam Divan, appearing for one of the petitioners.
The court told him that he can raise the issue before the Constitution Bench that starts hearing all Aadhaar matters in the last week of November. The Constitution Bench is to examine whether Aadhaar violates the right to privacy. The government clarified that the extension of the Aadhaar deadline to March 31 is not for all but for only those who have not taken Aadhaar number but are willing to apply for it.
On Monday, the court had rebuked the West Bengal government challenging Aadhaar, asking how a state government could go against the law mandated by Parliament; also, what would happen if the Centre starts challenging the laws passed by the state legislatures, the court demanded. The court further said that if CM Mamata Banerjee has any issue regarding Adhaar, she should file the plea as an individual.
The Constitution Bench will be examining several petitions challenging the government’s move to make Aadhaar card mandatory for availing various services and benefits of welfare schemes. Recently, a nine-judge constitution bench of the apex court had held that Right to Privacy was a Fundamental Right under the Constitution. Several petitioners challenging the validity of Aadhaar have claimed it violates privacy rights.
The Aadhaar matter witnessed some lighter moments when Justice A K Sikri said even he has been receiving messages from mobile service providers and the banks to link his account and phone number with Aadhaar. The issue about messages received from banks and mobile service providers was raised by senior lawyer K V Vishwanathan, who was representing one of the petitioners.
Vishwanathan told the bench that the people were “in a panicky situation” as the messages being received from the banks and telecom service providers were threatening them of deactivation of accounts or mobile numbers if they failed to link them with Aadhaar. Attorney General K K Venugopal countered his submissions saying these were oral arguments only. “I do not want to say this in the presence of media people, but I am also receiving such messages,” Justice Sikri said.