HE IS one of the highest paid stars in the Hindi film industry. He charges more than Rs one crore plus per film. Yet, when it came to paying a small sum for police security to the Mumbai Police, he simply refused to pay up. He is Shahrukh Khan, Bollywood’s number one star. He owes Mumbai Police Rs 46,842.
The man who has replaced Raj Kapoor in showmanship. He is Subash Ghai; the maker of mega films whose earnings run into crores. Yet, Mumbai Police records show he has outstanding dues to the tune of Rs 9,766 and his security has been withdrawn (as per his request) from April 19, 1999.
Shahrukh Khan’s security has been withdrawn (as per his request) from April 15, 1999. Khan’s dues to the tune of Rs 46,842 have remained unpaid even though they accrued between August 20, 1997 to February 2, 1998.
Yash Chopra, maker of such acclaimed movies like Kabhi Kabhi, settled his account only a couple of days back by paying approximately Rs 3 lakh for himself and his family.
As on January 27, 2000, Yash Chopra owed Mumbai Police Rs 93,850. His family members, including Aditya Chopra and Uday Chopra, had outstanding dues of Rs 92,842 and Rs 95,866 respectively.
On an average, Mumbai Police charges approximately a minimal amount of Rs 550 for two constables per day for providing round-the-clock security cover.
Until the end of January 2000, Mumbai Police was protecting 25 well-known film stars, producers, directors, lawyers, journalists etc, for one or the other reason.
Dilip Kumar and Shatrughan Sinha are under the Z-category security cover while Lata Mangeshkar is under the X-category security cover. They get security cover and the Government does not charge a single paisa from them.
Among others who continue to get free security cover include Manisha Koirala, Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Babbar, Vinod Khanna, film producers Mohammed Bashir and Javed Anand, lawyer Atul Setalvad, lyricist Javed Akhtar and television star Shekhar Suman. Mahesh Bhatt, who was getting free police cover, asked for its withdrawal.
At a recent meeting last week with Government officials, some of the film industry members demanded that they be given protection and that it was the duty of the Government and Mumbai Police to protect them.
“One of the big Bollywood bigwig demanded that we provide him free security because he was a tax payer. Then there were a couple of them who have been receiving extortion threats but refuse to tell the police anything. Yet, they assert that Mumbai Police should protect them”, a senior police officials told The Hindustan Times.
By Ketan Narottam Tanna