According to NDTV, the organizers of METALLICA‘s concerts in India have been arrested after the band’s show scheduled for Friday evening in Gurgaon (a suburb of Delhi) was canceled. The operational head of DNA Entertainment Network, Rajesh Chandwani, and his team members — Umesh, Ashok Singh and Savio Faleio — were charged with cheating people and breach of trust under section 406 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code, Station House Officer Jagdish Prasadsaid.
The police allege that the organizers oversold Friday’s concert beyond its 25,000 capacity at the Leisure Valley Park in Gurgaon’s Sector 29 and that the authorities were never informed before the cancelation was announced.
The organizers have said all ticket holders will be refunded. They said full-page advertisements on refunds will be put out in the next 24 hours explaining all the details.
“As soon as the organizers announced that the show has been postponed, the crowd went berserk… people started pushing each other, broke barricades, started shouting and throwing water bottles,” Pankaj Kaushik, who waited for three hours for the show to begin, told The Economic Times.
The announcement of the concert’s postponement was met with anger, apparently in part because the four members of METALLICA were taking part in a press conference at the time (see video below). Fans rushed the stage, damaged equipment and some even attempted to set fire to banners. Most of the fans, however, stayed calm and exited the venue when asked.
A METALLICA crew member, who was packing up the sound system late in the evening, when asked about the situation, told The Times Of India that he was clueless. “I have no idea at all. I was getting ready to play the show, and then I was told it wasn’t happening,” he said.
Shouvik Roy, a 41-year-old business consultant, fractured his leg in the stampede that followed and had to be taken to Max hospital. “I was pushed down a staircase. Many others were also injured in the melee. There were no marshals to guide people and few cops to help,” he told The Times Of India, adding that he saw many children and young adults also badly hurt and taken to the same hospital.
A number of fans — including Kapel Vahi and John Thangaraj — were reportedly sent confirmation emails stating that tickets would be delivered to them by October 25 which did not happen. Thangaraj told Mumbai Mirror, “Kapel and I bought our tickets on October 14. The company reverted with a confirmation email. According to the email, we were supposed to receive our tickets latest by October 25. After the deadline, we mailed, called all the numbers listed on the website. We did not get any reply. We then read on the web site that if we did not receive the tickets, we could pick them up at the venue.”
According to The Times Of India, Vahi, who flew down from Mumbai for the concert, waited in line at the ticket counter with Thangaraj for two hours, only to be told that his tickets had been dispatched to his home address. Thangaraj said, “We spoke to a man, who said his name was Rajesh and that he was the owner of DNA Network. When we told him about what had happened and that we would take legal action, he called us frauds and threatened to have us arrested.”
METALLICA‘s concert in Gurgaon was to have kicked off the F1 Rocks festivities accompanying this weekend’s inaugural Indian Grand Prix.
“Every conceivable effort had been made for the concert to go ahead today but, in view of public safety, and in consultation with the event organizer DNA Entertainment Network and representatives from METALLICA, the decision was made to cancel the show,” F1 Rocks said in a statement, “We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to the many enthusiastic fans who were looking forward to watch a great band perform.”
“The METALLICA concert has become yet another example of chaos and mismanagement in organising events in India,” Dow Jones Newswire‘s Santanu Choudhury wrote, referring to another concert, featuring Canada’s Bryan Adams, which was also canceled recently.
Tickets to the show were priced between Rs.1,650 and Rs.2,750 (between $34 and $57), and had drawn in fans from several cities like Kerala, Mumbai, Manipur, Kolkata, Jaipur and countries like Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Indonesia and Singapore.
METALLICA is scheduled to perform in the southern Indian city of Bangalore on Sunday.
Video footage of METALLICA‘s press conference in India can be seen below.