Date: 9th January 2001

Top Indian Film Financier is Arrested

The Indian investigation of links between Bollywood producers and organized crime took a new turn Monday when Bharat Shah, a prominent film backer, was arrested on charges that he filtered money from "Mafia don" Chhota Shakeel into several productions. Today's (Tuesday) Times of India commented that the arrest "sent shockwaves in the Hindi film industry." Police in Mumbai said that they had recorded an incriminating conversation between Shah and Shakeel, who operates out of Karachi, Pakistan. A government official, Chhagan Bhujbal, added: "We have ample evidence that Shah used his proximity to the underworld to coerce top actors and actresses to grant dates for shooting his films and also reduce their rates. The gangsters had threatened film stars and on a few occasions even opened fire on them." However, in a court appearance on Monday, Shah denied the charges and maintained that he was being maligned.

Source: Studio Briefing