Fri, 01 Dec 2023

New Delhi [India], September 29 (ANI): The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on Friday issued a statement after Tamil actor Vishal alleged that some officials from the board took a bribe of Rs 6.5 lakh for granting censor certification of the Hindi version of his film'Mark Antony'.

The statement read,"It has been noticed that despite the online certification system i.e. E-Cinepramaan in place and regular updates on new system improvements for the film producers/applicants, they still choose to apply through intermediaries or agents. This goes against the objective of eliminating third-party involvement in the certification process. With the implementation of aggressive digitization, complete process automation, and emphasis on minimal human intervention, the interference of intermediaries/agents has come down significantly however, the practice still exists in some regions which is defeating the purpose of transparency and smooth functioning of the certification process.""However, we have taken note of the allegations being reported very seriously and CBFC has zero tolerance for corruption. Also, the strictest action will be taken against anyone found involved and we shall get into the root cause. Meanwhile, any attempt to malign the image of CBFC will not be tolerated," the statement further added.

Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday said the government has"zero tolerance" for corruption and has initiated an inquiry into the claim by Vishal.

On Thursday the actor took to social media platform X to allege that officials from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Mumbai office had demanded Rs 6.5 lakh in exchange for the screening and granting of a U/A certificate for his film.

"The issue of corruption in CBFC brought forth by actor @VishalKOfficial is extremely unfortunate. The Government has zero tolerance for corruption and strictest action will be taken against anyone found involved," according to a statement by the IB Ministry.

The ministry said a senior officer has been deputed to conduct an inquiry into the matter.

"A senior officer from the Ministry of InformationBroadcasting has been deputed to Mumbai to conduct an inquiry today itself. We request everyone to cooperate with the Ministry, by providing information about any other instance of harassment by CBFC at," the IB Ministry statement read.

Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who is a former member of the CBFC told ANI said that Tamil actor has levelled "very serious" allegations and has demanded an investigation by the CBI.

He further said that people named by the Tamil actor as having taken the money are not employees of the CBFC and therefore"whoever the money was given to has to be investigated.""There are two names he takes in his statement, M Rajan and Jija Ramdas. As per my knowledge, these two are not the employees of CBFC... Accusing a CBFC officer at this stage is not right... But if allegations are being made, then we demand a CBI inquiry because the allegations are very serious...

It is obvious that any officer who demands money will not take it (directly) into his account... These two people he named should be asked if they have taken the money on someone's behalf at the CBFC... High power inquiry should be initiated," Ashoke Pandit said.

On Thursday, actor Vishal had shared a video message on X. "Corruption being shown on silver screen is fine. But not in real life. Cant digest. Especially in govt offices. And even worse happening in CBFC Mumbai office. Had to pay 6.5 lacs for my film MarkAntonyHindi version. 2 transactions. 3 Lakhs for screening and 3.5 Lakhs for certificate," Vishal wrote.

The actor also made an appealed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Prime Minister Narendra Modi to look into the matter.

"Never faced this situation ever in my career. Had no option but to pay the concerned mediator Menaga coz too much at stake since movie released today. Bringing this to the notice of Hon Chief Minister of Maharashtra and my Hon PM Narendra Modiji. Doing this is not for me but for future producers. NOT HAPPENING. My hard earned money gone for corruption ??? No way. Evidence down for all to hear. Hope truth prevails as always. GB," Vishal added.

'Mark Antony,' a science fiction action comedy was released on September 15. Directed by Adhik Ravichandran and produced by S Vinod Kumar under Mini Studio, the film stars Vishal and S J Suryah in dual roles. (ANI)

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