India’s Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Friday said the government has “zero tolerance” for corruption and has initiated an inquiry into the claim by Tamil actor Vishal that he paid a bribe to obtain censor certification of the Hindi version for his film Mark Antony.
On Thursday the actor took to X to allege that officials from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Mumbai office had demanded money 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 the strictest action will be taken against anyone found involved,” according to a statement by the I&B Ministry.
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. A senior officer from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting…
The ministry said a senior officer has been deputed to conduct an inquiry into the matter.
“A senior officer from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting 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 [email protected],” the I&B Ministry statement read.
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, who is a former member of the CBFC told ANI that the 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. Can’t 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.
#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… pic.twitter.com/3pc2RzKF6l
The actor also made an appeal 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.