Thiruvananthapuram: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Wednesday said the Cabinet decided not to accept superstar Mohanlal's offer to return Rs 1.63 crore, which he received for organising a stage show for the opening ceremony of the National Games but got entangled in a controversy.
After a cabinet meeting that reviewed the conduct of the event, he said the heat generated by the event was quite regrettable and the Government's morality would not allow it to take back the money.
Chandy also played down critical remarks made by Chief Secretary Jiji Thomson on the opening spectacle, which reportedly hurt Sports Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan.
"There is no question of accepting the money offered to be returned by Mohanlal as he had staged the show based on an agreement with the organisers," he said when his attention was drawn to reports that the actor had already despatched the cheque for the money he had received.
He said Mohanlal had not personally benefitted from the amount (Rs 1.63 crore) which he received since it was meant to meet the stage expenses and remuneration for the artistes.
Giving a virtual clean chit to Thomson, Chandy said he himself was convinced about the flaws in the organising of the opening ceremony pointed out by the bureaucrat.
Chandy, however, parried queries on media reports that Radhakrishnan had expressed deep resentment at Thomson's statements and that the latter had expressed regret over them. He said the entire cabinet was totally satisfied at the conduct of the Games.
"Initially, it was said that the event was not going to take off as infrastructure had not been completed and equipment had not arrived. Now that it has been started on schedule, they are finding fault with the way it is being conducted," he said, alluding to criticism by political circles and a section of the media.
Meanwhile, Mohanlal also received support from the film industry with superstar Mammootty expressing solidarity with him and making an appeal to all to stop "witch hunting" the artist.