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I&B Ministry begins clean-up at Censor Board

Union Information & Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has appointed an interim CEO for the Board to replace tainted chief Rakesh Kumar

The information & Broadcasting ministry has started taking steps to bring the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), - popularly known as Censor Board - back in order after its CEO Rakesh Kumar, a panel member, and a certification agent, were arrested by the CBI for allegedly accepting bribes for clearing films.

Union Minister Prakash Javadekar, after being apprised of the situation and how many films were pending clearance certificates, appointed Shravan Kumar, the CEO of Children’s Film Society of India (CFSI), to take additional charge of the CBFC.

Former CEO Rakesh Kumar is in custody till August 22 for allegedly taking bribes to the tune of lakhs for clearing films. mid-day had reported that Kumar had a proper rate card in place for different kinds of films, and panel member Sarvesh Jaiswal and agent Shripati Mishra acted on Kumar’s behalf to allegedly extract money from producers.

Leela Samson, chairperson of CBFC, confirmed Shravan Kumar’s appointment. The regional officer of Delhi, Raj Kumar, has also been asked to move to Mumbai to take charge of affairs here. Raj told this paper, “Yes, I will be moving to Mumbai after clearing the backlog of films in Delhi. There about 20 video films awaiting clearance.”

Samson, who is presently in Chennai, will go to Delhi next week to interview and select Regional Officers, after which, she said, normalcy would resume. In Mumbai, there are about 37 feature films and 64 video films awaiting clearance. Several others are awaiting clearance at Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai.

Samson assured, “Our members have begun watching at least 3 to 5 films in a day. I promise we will be back on track by the weekend.” Samson felt the entire system of agents to get films certified has to be abolished. “You cannot blame one person. The film producers and agents are equally to be blamed.

I would want the agent system to be completely abolished to curb corruption,” she told this paper. Meanwhile, CBI sources said all three accused were questioned together to corroborate their statements.

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