Bribery Scandal at CBFC: I&B Ministry Orders Inquiry After Actor’s Revelation

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Image Source: Lokmat Times

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) has taken swift action by ordering an inquiry following a shocking revelation by Tamil actor-producer Vishal Krishna Reddy. In a video posted on social media, Reddy alleged that he had to pay a hefty sum of ₹6.5 lakh to members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) in Mumbai to obtain clearance for his film, “Mark Antony” (Hindi), which was released on September 28. This scandal has raised serious concerns about corruption within the CBFC.

What are the allegations?

In a video addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Vishal Krishna Reddy detailed the ordeal his team went through. He explained that they had applied online to CBFC Mumbai but faced technical delays. When his team visited the CBFC office, they were allegedly asked to pay ₹6.5 lakh, with ₹3 lakh designated for viewing the film and ₹3.5 lakh to expedite the certification process. The transaction was reportedly facilitated by an individual named Menaka, who approached one of Reddy’s team members. The entire incident was recorded as evidence.

Menaka purportedly stated that they could have paid only ₹4 lakh had they arrived on time for certification. Reddy emphasized that they were compelled to make the payment due to the stakes involved but expressed concern about the potential exploitation of young producers facing similar situations.

Can be this incident be termed as Unprecedented Corruption?

The actor emphasized that his film was not of explicit content but a certified film in four languages in the South. He questioned how CBFC members could openly demand money for certification. Reddy’s team made payments through bank transfers to create a trail of evidence.

How is the Industry reacting to the incident?

Several industry bodies have reacted strongly to these allegations. The Indian Film and Television Directors Association has called for a CBI inquiry, expressing concern that such extortion could tarnish the reputation of the CBFC. Abhay Sinha, president of the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association, termed the allegations “alarming” and called for stringent measures to end corruption. He expressed confidence that the government would take steps to ensure transparency in the certification process.

I&B Ministry’s Response

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting released a statement affirming its “zero tolerance for corruption” and pledging to take stringent action against those involved. A senior officer from the ministry has been assigned to conduct an inquiry into the matter. The statement also encourages anyone else who may have faced harassment by CBFC to provide information through the designated email address.

To conclude

The allegations of bribery at CBFC, as revealed by Vishal Krishna Reddy, have triggered an immediate response from the I&B Ministry, which has ordered an inquiry into the matter. The film industry’s associations have also voiced their concerns, calling for transparency and the eradication of corruption within the CBFC. This incident underscores the need for accountability and integrity in the film certification process, and the industry and government’s commitment to addressing the issue is evident.