Dash Berlin show organisers to face the music for fraud?

Oct 08, 2013, 06:51 IST | Priyankka Deshpande

Penthouze Pub allegedly kept district entertainment duty department in the dark, sold event tickets at higher rate than the one mentioned in application

The world of entertainment and event management continues to be a largely murky one in the country, with transparency and accountability at a premium. For instance, district entertainment duty (ED) department functionaries have informed MiD DAY that the organisers and venue owner for DJ Dash Berlin’s performance cheated them by officially declaring lower ticket rates and fewer spectators.

District entertainment duty officer Mohini Chavan said that Submerge – the event management company owned by Nikhil Chinapa – claimed that the ticket rate for the show was just Rs 500 for a couple and did not share the information about the international artiste’s performance. Chavan also maintained that permission was taken for entry of just 200 couples. However, when ED department officials visited the venue on Saturday night, they found at least 300 couples present.

Spot the difference: (Above) The sample ticket, with the image of VJ Nikhil Chinapa instead of DJ Dash Berlin, and price tag of Rs 500

“The proprietor of Penthouze Pub and event organisers brazenly kept us in the dark and didn’t inform us about the additional tickets being sold. We believe this was done to avoid paying taxes,” Chavan said, adding, “Whether tickets are sold on the spot or through online booking it is responsibility of event organisers and venue owners to update us about bonus sale of tickets other than those mentioned in affidavit.”

A grab of online ticket site (inset), displaying the ticket price for DJ Dash Berlin’s show at Penthouze on Saturday night as Rs 1,600

Chavan said after suspecting that the organisers had cheated the department, she launched an internet search to verify the ticket rates only to discover that the presence of international DJ Dash Berlin was advertised online and that the ticket rate mentioned was much higher than what had been declared. “The sample ticket, which was submitted to us, had mentioned Rs 500 per couple as charges. Contrary to this, the online ticket had a price tag of Rs 1,600. This is fraud,” Chavan said. “As a result, we have issued directions to slap fine against the venue owner and event organisers. The amount may be over Rs 1 lakh,” she added. ED department levies collections for 20 per cent of the total number of tickets sold for a show as tariff.

Meanwhile, the employee of Submerge who approached the ED department to acquire consent for the show said that Berlin was Chinapa’s friend and he had performed at the programme following requests from music buffs. He also denied that more spectators had attended the show than mentioned in the application.

“Around 175 people had gathered for the event, and whatever the officials of ED department are claiming is totally wrong. The fans requested for Berlin’s performance and that’s the reason he played in Chinapa’s show,” said Madan Redekar, employee of Submerge.

Redekar added that the price of entry was Rs 500 per couple and the organiser did not sell any tickets online or at the venue. Contrary to this, MiD DAY had yesterday reported (“Mystery IAS officer tried to stop cops from pulling the plug on DJ Dash Berlin’s ‘illegal’ event”) that a fan of Berlin told this reporter that he had just purchased a ticket at the spot, when cops stopped the show.

Speaking to MiD DAY, additional state home secretary Amitabh Ranjan said, “It is necessary for any international performer to take prior permission from home department, which is granted only after ascertaining that he/she is not involved in any anti-national activities or crimes like drug smuggling. If the performer lacks the authorisation then he or she is treated as a suspect and it is the respective police commissioner’s prerogative to take action.” Ranjan assured that he would look into the matter at hand. 

Sub rosa
A performer, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “Many agents are around, who promise organisers that they would get all the necessary permissions by charging exorbitant fees. To save money, often inaccurate information is shared and crucial details about performances by foreign artistes is often kept under wraps to sidestep delays, which is certainly wrong.” 

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