Odisha police raid MSO for illegally airing IPL matches through unlicenced Afghani channel

On account of infringement of Intellectual Property rights, the broadcaster filed a criminal complaint against the MSO with the Jaleswar police

e4m by Javed Farooqui
Updated: Oct 20, 2021 8:44 AM

The Odisha police have sealed the control room of a Balasore-based multi-system operator (MSO), Jaleswar Cable Network for transmitting Indian Premier League (IPL) matches without a valid interconnection agreement with official broadcaster Star Sports, informed sources have told exchange4media. 

The MSO, which caters to over 8000 TV households, was transmitting the live IPL feed by illegally downlinking a free to air (FTA) Afghanistani channel Watan TV HD through a DTH set-top box (STB). 

The incident puts the spotlight back on the menace of downlinking foreign channels in India that are not permitted by the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB). Every TV channel requires a valid uplinking/downlinking licence from the MIB to launch in India.

The violation of uplinking/downlinking guidelines by the MSO was brought to the notice of MIB, which instructed the state police to take immediate action. The police team was led by the Executive Magistrate, SDPO and IIC visited the MSO's control room during the IPL match. However, the control room was locked and the officials of Jaleswar Cable Network were absconding.

To stop the illegal transmission of live sporting events through unauthorised means, a police team disconnected the power supply, removed the downlinking cables from the antenna and sealed the premises, sources said.

Star India, which holds BCCI, IPL and ICC media rights, had disconnected signals of its channels to Jaleswar Cable Link on account of non-payment, as per TRAI regulations. Post disconnection, the MSO was allegedly found to be pirating Star India channels by deploying DTH STB at their control room.

On account of infringement of Intellectual Property (IP) rights, the broadcaster filed a criminal complaint against the MSO with the Jaleswar police. Following the complaint, an FIR was registered under IPC and Copyright Act against Susmita Dinda, proprietor of Jaleswar Cable Network. 

Efforts to reach Susmita Dinda for a comment proved futile till the time of filing this report. 

During the technical investigation, the team found that Watan TV HD was downlinking and decoding Star channels using the STB of an Indian DTH service provider. After downlinking and decoding, the Afghani channel was uplinking the signals of Star channels on their KU Band on China Sat 11 satellite with footprint covering India

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