Ten Sports off INCableNet after raids

In the end, it was too good to last. Yesterday, Hinduja Group MSO INCableNet's subscribers who were tuned in to the quarter final match-up between new tournament favourites Brazil and England found themselves suddenly switched out.

The reason: raids that were conducted across the city at INCableNet headends by teams organised by Modi Entertainment Network (MEN), the Dubai-based sports broadcaster Ten Sports' distributor in India, for stealing unauthorised signals. Ten Sports has exclusive telecast rights in India and other South Asian countries for the World Cup.

Something of this sort has been on the cards following an order passed by the Delhi High Court on Thursday. As reported by the Economic Times, the path-breaking order empowers a Court Commissioner to enter the premises of any cable operator transmitting the signals without a licence, collect necessary evidence and initiate civil proceedings that could attract a hefty fine of Rs 2 million.

According to MEN, 19 headends across the city were raided. And as a further evidence gathering exercise, two subscribers per headend were also checked to check whether they were getting the signal. 

A major raid was also organised at the Regent Hotel in the western suburb of Bandra, which is also serviced by INCableNet, MEN says.

The whole affair becomes more curious considering the fact that the Rajan Raheja-promoted MSO Hathway and INCableNet jointly announced on 7 June that they had thrashed out an agreement with Ten Sports to carry its signals. Hathway has been carrying Ten Sports since then. Not so INCableNet. 

It was more than a week after the initial announcement that Ten Sports finally start airing on INCableNet. The reasons, according to INCableNet executives, being that were some internal issues that still needed sorting out. 

These are the second set of raids that MEN has organised in Mumbai over unauthorised transmission of Ten Sports. On 31 May as well, MEN, armed with a restraining order issued by the Delhi High Court the previous day and applicable across the country, similar raids were carried out.

Judging by the latest standoff, it appears clear that internal issues will continue to impede on a resolution to this issue. 

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