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Software piracy racket busted

EXPRESS NEWS SERVICE

PUNE, JULY 11: In a major operation, the crime branch yesterday busted a software piracy racket and seized goods worth over Rs four crore. With software piracy assuming alarming proportions, this is stated to be a major set back for crime in the high tech world.

Executives from the National Association of Software and Services Company (NASSCOM) flew into the city from Delhi a few days back to inform the police of a major racket in software piracy. They met deputy commissioner of police (crime) Surinder Kumar who set his team on the job. The police started monitoring the places identified and kept tabs on their dealings.

Last morning, acting on the details provided by NASSCOM, the police raided a software dealer operating from his office on Karve Road. Posing as a prospective customer, the police approached Sumatilal Lodha of Sujata Enterprises for a deal in pirated software. Once the deal was settled the police moved in and arrested Lodha.

A police team, led by assistant police inspector Shekhar Tore, which raided the premises recovered 1023 Compact Disc(CD) ROMS containing illegally copied software. They also confiscated 23 mouses from the dealer.

Lodha has been booked for violating the Copyright Act. He was produced in court on Sunday afternoon and has been released on bail.

According to the police, the software is valued at Rs 4,97,28,394 in the international market. Each CD contained pirated software that runs into thousands of rupees.

NASSCOM officials said the operation was conducted in close coordination with the Business Software Association. Both the companies are Delhi based and have been formed by various multinational software companies to deal with common problems facing the industry. According to the officials, they have an independent investigating body that looks into such acts of piracy.

Once a conduit is established they inform the police who make further investigations and take appropriate action. In this case NASSCOM had been monitoring this area for a long time. Once the modus operandi was established, the crime branch was informed who, in turn, arrested Lodha.

The police said four software packages of as many major companies were being pirated. They are Microsoft Corporation, Adobe Systems, Tata Consultancy and Autodesk. While Microsft Corporations' operating systems are great favourites among users, Adobe is known for its pagemaking software packages in India. Autodesk a relative newcomer in the Indian software industry and is known for its 3D animation packages.

The police believe further investigations could unravel more cases of software piracy in the city. With Pune emerging as one of the most active software development centres after Bangalore and Hyderabad, it forms a prime target for software pirates.

Copyright © 1998 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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