Bribery case

Censor Board corruption

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The CBI found Rs 10.5 lakh in cash, gold jewellery and property papers in Kumar’s residence
Rakesh Kumar, the CEO of the country’s censor body Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), along with an advisory panel member and an authorised agent for censor certification, were recently arrested by the CBI in a bribery case. The CBI claims that the trio had demanded a bribe for clearing a film. According to the CBI, an authorised agent for censor certification, Praveen Mohare, had approached the CBFC on behalf of a producer of a regional film, Mor Dauki Ke Bihav, from Chhattisgarh for its early clearance. But the duo of Shripati Mishra, another agent for censor certification, and Sarvesh Jaiswal, CBFC advisory panel member, allegedly demanded a bribe of Rs 70,000 to issue the certificate.

After the two were arrested by the CBI, they confessed that they were acting at the behest of Kumar. Kumar is a 1997-batch Indian Railway Personnel Service officer who took charge as the board’s CEO in January this year. The CBI conducted a search at Kumar’s residence and found Rs 10.5 lakh in cash, apart from gold jewellery and property documents.

The CBI apparently had prior information about Kumar’s demanding of bribes. Kumar would allegedly delay issuing censor certificates to filmmakers unless they approached the CBFC through select agents. In the recent past, some industry professionals have also spoken about the censor board’s inconsistent rulings.

Earlier this year, filmmaker Hansal Mehta claimed the CBFC was discriminating against his film Shahid by allotting it an ‘Adult’ certificate when many other films got a more lenient treatment. He even filed an RTI query to highlight this issue. Media reports state that the CBI knows a number of top Bollywood producers who have paid bribes to get their films cleared in time.