A Hyderabad-based IT engineer has been arrested by the Maharashtra Cyber Cell for allegedly circulating pirated content taken from OTT platforms and satellite channels. Satish Venkateshwarlu, who operated a platform called Thop TV, was arrested from Hyderabad on Monday, July 12, and has now been remanded to seven days of police custody by a Mumbai court. The police will proceed to investigate the modus operandi.
Confirming the news, Sanjay Shintre, SP, Maharashtra Cyber told media, â€śMaharashtra Cyber cell has done a technical investigation into the FIR and accordingly we have arrested one culprit from Hyderabad. The culprit had used Thop TV as a platform and as an app. He primarily provided free content on Telegram.â€ť Thop TV became popular as it charged only a nominal fee to stream content.
Satish was reportedly picked up from his Gurramguda residence. Though local police are usually informed of such arrests, the Hyderabad police told TNM that they werenâ€™t aware of this case. Speaking to TNM, Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said, â€śWe havenâ€™t been intimated of any such arrest. Usually, they do inform the local police station before carrying out such arrests, however it isnâ€™t compulsory.â€ť
According to preliminary information, the 28-year-old has been running the Thop TV app and website for the last two years. The app has lakhs of viewers, including paid subscribers. Satish was arrested following a complaint filed by Viacom 18 Media Private Limited, along with another broadcaster. The broadcasters approached the Maharashtra Cyber Cell with their complaint, alleging that an app was transmitting their content without authorisation.
According to reports, the app charges a nominal subscription fee of Rs 35 per month and viewers were also provided an annual package. As this is cheaper than the subscription of other OTT platforms, Thop TV soon became a hit among viewers. The platform was used by many to watch sports matches, movies, shows, and user-demand content. The police have booked Satish for cheating and other relevant sections of the IPC.
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