Monday, December 20, 2004

Kiski Baazee kiske haath

“New Delhi: Police in the Indian capital have arrested India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and charged him with aiding a porn racket.
Mr Singh’s arrest followed that of one Mr Billu Arora from whom a police team seized 3,000 pornographic video discs. Mr Arora ran a small shop in the underground Palika Bazaar, part of the New Delhi Municipal Council.

The council directly functions under the Union Ministry for Urban Development of the Central government. According to the police, the Prime Minister, head of the government, had failed to do his job as pornographic videos were freely sold at one of his ministry’s ventures.

Since the Municipal Council earned a profit from the rentals paid by the porn trader, the government indirectly benefited from the sale and hence the charge brought against him may not allow him bail.”


Thank God, the above news item is not true. But the way the Delhi Police arrested the chief operating officer of a e-commerce portal, even the Prime Minister can't be sure about the future.

In a brazen act of sensationalism, Delhi Police decided to put baazee.com CEO Avnish Bajaj behind bars. He had flown to Delhi to help the police in fixing those who sold an explicit video featuring a schoolgirl, shot by her class boy, on the ecommerce portal.

The police also betrayed its lack of knowledge about the Internet and the loopholes in the Information Technology Act, which if left to the police may be grossly misinterpreted. Legal eagles question Baazee CEO's arrest- The Times of India.

This man, Avnish Bajaj, happens to be one of the stars of the dotcom business in India. He runs a portal that allows people to set up online shops. It was recently bought over by the world’s largest auction house ebay.

His site, baazee.com, spawned an entirely new set of entrepreneurs in India as it allowed people to set up online shops. Thousands of young entrepreneurs have set up shops on baazee and have become small and medium size businesses. I know some people who have turned this website into a wealth-creation tool.

And like all societies, this large society of sellers and buyers too has some bad eggs. Some people selling substandard products, some selling pornographic videos. But the bad eggs are too small in number and significance to burn down the whole hatchery.

The Delhi police, in a frighteningly stupid demand, sought permission to close the site. What next? Close Palika Bazaar, Nehru Place, the whole damn city, because some greedy moron is found selling porn in a shop or two. Should we abandon Delhi and shift our capital to Chandausi just because we have 10 black traffic spots where accidents take place regularly?

Police and our law need to walk with the times, if not ahead. Technology is changing the face of the world and we Indians too are very ambitious when it comes to developing and adapting to new technologies.

So let us first accept the fact that user licence agreements signed over the Internet are not physical files with actual signatures. Hang him if he deserves it. But at the moment, Avnish Bajaj deserves some respect.

1 comment:

jhOOmur said...

Absolutely agree. Next we know, you and I will be arrested for writing stuff that would perhaps be unconstitutional. ^shrug^