Bollywood not helping CBI in Censor Board corruption matter

New Delhi: After a successful operation exposing alleged corruption at top level in Censor Board, CBI is finding it difficult to make much headway as the people from the film industry are not coming forward to help the agency.

CBI sources said it took nearly three months of surveillance on sacked CEO of Censor Board Rakesh Kumar to expose his alleged wrongdoings in giving clearances to films during his tenure.

The Central Board of Film Certification or the Censor Board is the cinema regulatory body in the country which controls content of films and certifies them according to the age group they are suitable for.

Last month, CBI arrested the then Chief Executive Officer of the Censor Board Rakesh Kumar for allegedly taking bribe of Rs 70,000 from the producer of a Chhattisgarh film for clearing it.

The sources said although they have got evidence in this case, they are not able to expose the "deep-rooted" network of Kumar who allegedly exploited other producers as well for clearing their movies.

"The film industry can help in pinpointing people who were allegedly paying bribes. The middlemen who were active and involved in alleged contravention of rules and regulations," a senior CBI official here said.

Some of the noted actors, producers and directors were contacted for their views on the alleged non-cooperation of the industry to unearth roots of corruption in the Censor Board but all of them preferred to remain silent on the issue.

A senior actor termed the case as "individualistic" act and said he was not supposed to speak on the behalf of entire industry.

The officials handling the case said they are hearing murmers about the alleged corruption which was prevalent during Kumar's tenure but the Producers and many other big names of the industry are not coming forward to depose against him.

The sources said unless they come forward and lodge formal complaint against Kumar or become witness, the agency will not be able to dig further into his acts.

"The producers who have shelled out money are scared to depose against him. The fear could be that network of middlemen in Censor Board may create further hurdles for them," a senior CBI officer said.

A Mumbai-court had rejected Kumar's bail application last week saying the impact of this crime was "depraving which destroys the coming generations" and it was "worse than economic offences".

Kumar's bail application said he was framed by a lobby of agents. The application, filed through his lawyer advocate Mahesh Vaswani, claimed the agents wanted him out of the way because he had initiated certain reforms to curb the red tape and increase transparency.

Kumar was arrested by CBI on August 18, four days after an agent and a member of CBFC's advisory panel were arrested for taking bribe, allegedly on Kumar's behalf.

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