Ravi Shankar's daughter 'victim of blackmail plot'
Attempt to extort $100,000 from musician over private photos stolen from her laptop
Monday 21 September 2009
Indian police have arrested a man in connection with the alleged blackmailing of the daughter of Ravi Shankar, the legendary composer and sitar player.
A special unit of the Delhi police swooped in Mumbai as part of an investigation into the reported blackmailing of Anoushka Shankar, who is herself a renowned sitar player and composer, over "private photographs" of the 28-year-old that had been stored on her laptop computer.
It is understood that Mr Shankar, who has performed with musicians from around the world including the Beatles, contacted the authorities last month after his daughter began receiving a series of emails demanding money. Ms Shankar, who has homes in both Delhi and Los Angeles, is believed to have received messages demanding a total of $100,000 (£61,000).
According to a letter that Mr Shankar sent to the Indian government's home ministry, Anouskha, who is his daughter with Sukanya Rajan, sent her Apple laptop for repair at a service centre in Delhi last February.
"It's likely that some material stored in the laptop was copied without informing her. But everything will be clear once the investigation is complete," a source told the Indian Express newspaper. Police focused their attention on Junaid Khan, the man arrested, after questioning employees at the computer service centre. Mr Khan, who reportedly knows Ms Shankar and had been following her concerts, has been charged with extortion. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail.
"The internet protocol address as well as the GPRS connection through which these emails were sent belong to an Indian citizen," added the source.
Ms Shankar, half-sister of the singer and songwriter Norah Jones, the daughter of Ravi Shankar and music producer Sue Jones, is this week due to be performing in Los Angeles as part of an India Calling concert. Neither she nor her father have commented on the case.
She began playing music when she was just 13 and has produced a number of albums. In 2002, she performed along with her father in the Concert for George, a tribute to the late Beatles guitarist who famously duetted with Ravi Shankar. It was through the sitar player that the group were introduced to Indian music and he helped teach the sitar to Harrison, who played the instrument on several of the band's recordings, including the 1965 song Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown).
The Shankar dynasty: Music in the blood
*Anoushka Shankar is one of Ravi Shankar's three children. They all have different mothers. All trained as musicians, but only Anoushka, 28, and Norah Jones, 30, pursued solo careers. Shubhendra, their older half-brother, worked as a painter. He died in 1992.
*In 2003, the half-sisters were both nominated for Grammy awards. Jones has sold more than 36 million records worldwide.
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