Tamil actor Vishal says he paid Rs 6.5 lakh to Censor Board; Centre orders an inquiry
Ministry of information and broadcasting has sent a senior official 'today itself' to probe Vishal's allegations that he paid ₹6.5 lakhs to Censor Board Mumbai to get his film 'Mark Antony' certified
Soon after Tamil actor Vishal dropped a bombshell about having to pay a bribe of ₹6.5 lakhs to Censor Board officials to get the Hindi version of his film Mark Antony passed, the ministry of information and broadcasting on Friday (September 29) dispatched a senior officer to Mumbai to conduct an inquiry.
In the tweet posted on Friday, the ministry of information and broadcasting (MIB) called the corruption issue at the CBFC Mumbai flagged by actor Vishal as “unfortunate”. Further, stating that the ministry had zero tolerance to corruption and “strictest action will be taken against anyone found involved”, the MIB said that they deputed a senior officer to Mumbai to conduct an 'inquiry' into the allegation "today" itself.
The MIB also asked others who had faced harassment by the Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to come forward as well.
Last evening, Vishal uploaded a nearly four-minute long video, in which he drew the attention of Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the corruption in the CBFC, a government body.
In the post accompanying the video, Vishal said that he cannot digest corruption especially in government offices. And, even worse when it is happening at the CBFC Mumbai office.
Vishal then went ahead to reveal that he had paid ₹6.5 lakhs to get the Hindi version of his film Mark Antony to be certified. He paid the amount in two transactions – ₹3 lakhs for the CBFC to watch the film and another ₹3.5 lakhs to obtain the certificate.
Claiming that he had never faced this situation before in his career, the actor admitted that he had “no option” but to pay since there was a lot at stake before the film's release. He also gave the bank details of the transaction he had made to an account of M Rajan in Tamilnad Mercantile Bank, Sion branch and to another account belonging to Jeeja Ramdas in Kotak Mahindra Bank in Andheri East branch.
Vishal also named the mediator, who had allegedly asked his representative for the money. He claimed that he was calling out the corruption at CBFC because he did not want this to happen to producers. And he did not want his hard earned money to go for corruption.
Exposing the scam
In his video, Vishal said that he cannot digest that his “hard-earned money has gone for corruption”.
“I am not doing this for me or my film, but for future producers. Have been thinking only of what others may have to go through for their films," he pointed out.
Further, he asked, "If this is the case for me, what about other people?" According to Vishal, those who apply 15 days before must pay ₹4 lakh for the certificate. He paid ₹ 6.5 lakh and got the certificate.
Vishal started his video talking about the “scam” at the CBFC in Mumbai in relation to his film. He recounted how when he applied for the film certification online which they had to do last minute because of some technical issues, they were “taken aback” by what happened.
On Monday, when his agent visited the CBFC office they were given no option but to pay ₹ 6.5 lakh to get the certificate by the evening. “First told we had to pay ₹ 3 lakh for the film to be viewed and then ₹ 3.5 lakh for the certificate,” he said, going on to reveal the name of the lady who participated in this alleged corrupt act.
Apologising for recording the conversation, the actor said "it is not in our culture to record but this was important to tell the world (of) what is happening in CBFC Mumbai".
Message to Maharashtra CM and PM Modi
Vishal concluded with a message to Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde and Prime Minister Modi, explaining that he had the evidence to back his claims and hoped that action would be taken. "This is a sad thing," he said urging the government to look into the matter.
"My honourable PM has always stood against corruption... all political leaders say they do... and this is corruption," he asserted.