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Rapper Badshah paid Rs 72 lakh for 7.2 cr views: M

Singer wanted to set a world record for his song Pagal Hai, say police, after questioning him for 3rd straight day.

Mumbai: The Mumbai Crime Branch’s Crime Intelligence Unit (CIU) questioned rapper Badshah for the third consecutive day on Saturday in connection with a social media scam involving fake accounts, likes and views. Officials claimed that during questioning, the singer confessed that he had ‘bought’ around 7.2 crore views for Rs 72 lakh for one of his songs, called Pagal Hai, in a bid to set a world record.

The rapper claimed that Pagal Hai received 75 million views on YouTube within 24 hours of its release last year. The claim was rejected by Alphabet, which owns YouTube as well as Google.

Crime Branch officials said they had a list of more than 250 questions for Badshah, whose real name is Aaditya Singh. The singer admitted that he had paid a company Rs 72 lakh, including 18 per cent service tax, to generate ‘views’ on social media, they said.

Nandkumar Thakur, deputy commissioner of police, said: “The singer confessed that he wanted to set a world record for most number of viewers in 24 hours on YouTube. That is why he paid Rs 72 lakh to this company.”

“Apart from Pagal Hai, we are also scrutinising his other songs posted on social media,” another official told Mirror.

The CIU team, led by API Sachin Vaze, on July 15 unearthed an international racket involving the creation of fake social media profiles, the sale of ‘followers’, views and ‘likes’ to genuine accounts, and other fraudulent activities by websites presenting themselves as social media marketing agencies. A special investigating team was formed to look into the matter and the police have so far recorded statements of more than 20 people, including celebrities and social media marketing companies.

The scam was busted after singer Bhoomi Trivedi lodged a complaint at Bangur Nagar police station on July 11 alleging that someone had created a profile on Instagram using her name and photos, and was using it to scam others.

Soon after registering an FIR, a police team led by Vaze zeroed in on one Abhishek Davade, 21, by tracking his online activity and arrested him from Kurla. They questioned him and established that a website he was working for was part of a larger international racket involving crores of fake profiles, followers, views, comments and likes.

Badshah said in a statement: “Following the summons, I have spoken to the Mumbai Police. I have aided the officials in their investigation by cooperating and carrying out the due diligence on my part. I’ve categorically denied all the allegations levelled against me and made it clear that I was never involved in such practices, nor do I condone them. The investigation procedure is being executed in accordance with the law and I have complete faith in the authorities, who are handling this matter. I’d like to thank all those who have conveyed their concern to me. It means a lot to me.”

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