Actor Vishal accuses Censor Board of corruption, centre orders immediate inquirytext_fields
Tamil actor Vishal's recent allegations of corruption within India's film censor board have sparked a swift response from the government.
The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has expedited an inquiry into the matter, pledging to investigate the issue promptly.
Vishal had claimed that he paid Rs 6.5 lakhs to the censor board for the certification of the Hindi version of his new film, 'Mark Antony,' which was released in north Indian states last week.
In a statement, the ministry expressed deep concern over the allegations and stated its "zero tolerance" for corruption. It has urged others who may have faced similar harassment to come forward with their accounts. The ministry stated, "The government has zero tolerance for corruption, and strict action will be taken against anyone involved. A senior officer has been deputed to Mumbai to conduct an inquiry today itself."
Vishal made his allegations public in a nearly four-minute video uploaded at 6 PM the previous evening, addressing Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In the video, he named two individuals from the censor board and provided details of online bank transfers. He alleged that he had sent Rs 3 lakhs to the Tamilnad Mercantile Bank account of M Rajan and Rs 3.5 lakhs to a Kotak Mahendra Bank account belonging to Jeeja Ramdas, both of which are located in Mumbai.
Vishal explained in the video, "What I am going to say is not about my movie but it is definitely related. This is about the scam that has happened at the Central Board of Film Certification in Mumbai in relation to my film. We applied for film certification online. We had to do it last minute because of some technical issues but were taken aback by what happened."
He continued, "On Monday, when my agent visited the CBFC office, we were given no option but to pay Rs 6.5 lakhs to get the certificate by the evening. First, we were told we had to pay Rs 3 lakhs for the film to be viewed and then Rs 3.5 lakhs for the certificate. This was done by one lady... one Mrs. Mehta."
Vishal noted that the conversation was recorded, explaining that "it is not in our culture to record, but this was important to tell the world what is happening in CBFC Mumbai."
He expressed concern for other filmmakers and producers, saying, "If this is the case for me, what about other people? I paid Rs 6.5 lakhs and got the certificate. My hard-earned money has gone to corruption. I am not doing this for me or my film but for future producers. I have been thinking only of what others may have to go through for their films."
In his concluding remarks addressed to CM Shinde and Prime Minister Modi, Vishal stressed that he had evidence to substantiate his claims and hoped that action would be taken. He emphasised, "My honourable PM has always stood against corruption. All political leaders say they do. And this is corruption."