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24 January, 2020 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 23 January, 2020 11:14:36 PM
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Police crackdown on illegal DTH begins

Tk 700-800 crore laundered a year for unauthorised use of Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun Direct, Airtel Digital connections
STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka
Police crackdown on 
illegal DTH begins

The law enforcers have started a drive against sale of illegal direct-to-home or DTH equipment in a bid to curb the unauthorised business, which causes Tk 700-800 crore being siphoned off a year. A mobile court of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) yesterday conducted a drive at Bangabandhu National Stadium Super Market in the capital and fined Tokyo Electronics Tk 50,000 for illegal sale of DTH equipment. The drive also seized a huge quantity of illegal DTH equipment of Indian company Tata Sky.

Talking to reporters, DMP mobile court Executive Magistrate Abdullah Al Mamun said a number of businesses were selling DTH equipment illegally without taking permission from the government. Police have started a drive against such businesses. On the first day of the drive, they conducted a drive at Bangabandhu National Stadium Super Market, the magistrate said.

The mobile court seized 14 illegal DTH sets from Tokyo Electronics and fined it Tk 50,000, he said. All traders in the market have been cautioned not to sell illegal DTH equipment, the official added.

Illegal DTH equipment of some 12 companies including Tata Sky, Dish TV, Sun Direct and Airtel Digital are smuggled from India and sold in the local market, causing huge revenue losses for the country, officials said.  There are an estimated 10 lakh illegal DTH connections in the country at present.

Earlier, Information Minister Hasan Mahmud said the government would take punitive measures against dishonest distributors who would not remove the DTH by the government's stipulated date of December 15, 2019.

Many foreign companies are showing foreign channels through direct-to-home (DTH) downlink service without the government’s approval and this will not be allowed to continue, the information minister said while talking to leaders of the Federation of Television Professionals Organisation (FTPO)

at the Secretariat in October last year. “Since the introduction of the DTH service, Tk 700-800 crore is being siphoned off to foreign countries through hundi, which is harmful for Bangladesh,” the minister said

“This (reception of satellite programmes with a personal dish) is illegal as the government has not given any approval to use it. The DTH equipment are imported and distributors take money for one year from subscribers and they send the money abroad through illegal means,” Hasan Mahmud added.

Industry insiders said the illegal DTH operators are laundering huge amounts of money to foreign countries through ‘hundi’. A field-level investigation revealed many shops in New Market, Stadium, Gulistan, Banani and a few other areas are selling illegal DTH packages, which include set-top boxes, remote controls, small dish antennae along with cables and accessories.

The DTH dishes of various foreign companies are seen on the rooftops of many houses and commercial buildings in Gulshan, Baridhara, Banani, Dhanmondi, Mohammadpur, Tejgaon and other areas in the capital. Such illegal DTH connections are available even in rural areas across the country. Some cable operators also install DTH equipment illegally to provide various international channels to their customers.

Officials at the information ministry said the government has not granted any permission to foreign operators to run such DTH business in the country. Instead, only two local companies were awarded DTH licences in 2013.

Beximco Communications, one of the licencees, is operating DTH services in the country while complying with the rules and regulations under the brand name of ‘Akash’. The company is providing the services by transmitting signals from Bangladesh’s first-ever communications satellite, Bangabandhu-I. The other licensee is not currently in operation, according to officials.

The DTH system offers access to digital TV packages without any cable connection. The sources said by consuming illegal DTH services, the local people are also being deprived, as these do not offer or support Bangladeshi channels. Again, Bangladeshi channels are also losing viewers as these are not available in those DTH services, which are illegal in Bangladesh.  A top official of the information ministry, preferring not to be named, told The Independent recently the illegal DTH brands are laundering money and depriving the government of revenue by resorting to various tactics with the connivance of a few local unscrupulous businessmen.

The official added that illegal DTH service providers do not charge monthly fees from their subscribers in order to avert the risk of being nabbed by the government agencies. The distributors instead take subscription fees for a year as payments for DTH equipment and users’ charges and send the money abroad through illegal means, he added. An official at the Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission (BTRC) told The Independent, “Indian DTH devices are smuggled into the country through different border areas. A huge amount of money is being laundered annually for this purpose while also causing revenue losses to the government.”

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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