MACTA demands probe into role of black money in Mollywood

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Kochi: Malayalam Cine Technicians Association (MACTA) has demanded a high-level probe into the alleged flow of illegal money into the film industry. It wants central agencies like the National Investigation Agency and Enforcement Directorate to unravel the funding of film production by nefarious elements. 

This came in the wake of noted film producer Siyad Koker's claim that the Malayalam film industry benefitted from money from illegal sources. 

Kokker, who is the president of the Kerala Film Distributors Association, on Saturday said that he is not aware if the illegal money is from gold smuggling or other means.

"One thing is certain: the film industry here has number 2 funds. This is more so when big-budget films are produced. This is also known to technicians and actors, who also benefit," said Koker.

Number 2 is a colloquialism for unaccounted or illegal money. 

The ongoing probe into a sensational gold smuggling case suggested links of the racket to the film world too and reports in this regard have perturbed the industry. 

MACTA general secretary Baiju Kottarakara told media that the investigation must be directed towards the four films produced by Arun Balachandran. He also demanded that the financial dealings of Telugu movies distributed in Kerala must also be probed.

P.S. Sarith, a former employee of the UAE Consulate in Thiruvanathapuram, was arrested by the Customs on July 5 for trying to facilitate smuggling of 30 kg gold in a diplomatic baggage from Dubai.

Of the four arraigned as accused, three have already been arrested in India, while the fourth accused, Faizal Fareed is now in the custody of the Dubai Police. The Centre has cancelled his passport and he is likely to be extradited to India shortly.

According to the Customs and the NIA, which are among the main agencies probing the case, Fareed coordinates the smuggling activities from his base in the UAE and he has even acted in a Malayalam film.

"Their modus operandi is to befriend people in the film industry and then they move forward," added Koker, who owns the Kokers Films, on the tactics of the racket. 

Ever since the gold smuggling gang was busted, reports have surfaced that four recent big-budget Malayalam films likely benefitted from black money.

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