India sacks movie censor chief over bribery charge

Published August 21, 2014
Rakesh Kumar, the head of the India’s film censorship board, is produced before a court in Mumbai. – Photo by AP
Rakesh Kumar, the head of the India’s film censorship board, is produced before a court in Mumbai. – Photo by AP

MUMBAI: India has removed the chief executive of its film censorship board after he was arrested on accusations he took a bribe to clear a movie for screening.

Rakesh Kumar was arrested on Monday in Mumbai, the centre of the Bollywood movie industry, on charges of taking Rs70,000 ($1,155) to provide Central Broad of Film Certification clearance for a film.

"He (Kumar)has been removed from his charge," an official from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which overseas the censorship board, told AFP Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

India's new Prime Minister Narendra Modi ran on a platform of zero-tolerance of corruption and has repeatedly pledged to curb the graft and red tape that have plagued state organisations for decades.

Kumar took over as the board's chief executive earlier this year. Soon afterwards he told the Mumbai Mirror newspaper there was a "huge backlog of films that needs to be cleared as we are short-staffed".

The resulting delays to a cinema release carry a potentially huge revenue loss for India's rapidly expanding multi-billion-dollar movie industry.

Kumar will appear in court in Mumbai on Thursday. Two other people connected to the censorship board have also been arrested and will appear in court on Wednesday.

Stringent guidelines drawn up by India's censor board include warnings placed on film scenes deemed to glamorise smoking, while shots depicting extreme violence are banned.

Opinion

Wit and wisdom
Updated 14 Apr 2021

Wit and wisdom

Warmth and gregariousness came naturally to him.

Editorial

TLP protests
Updated 14 Apr 2021

TLP protests

For the good of the country, and its image as a nation where extremism has no place, such groups must be strictly reined in.
14 Apr 2021

PPP’s formal exit

THE PPP’s formal resignation from all offices of the PDM comes as no surprise after weeks of tension and public...
14 Apr 2021

Natanz attack

AS the P5+1 and Iran try to breathe life back into the JCPOA, as the nuclear deal is officially known, it appears...
Reform after Daska
Updated 13 Apr 2021

Reform after Daska

Electoral malpractice generates instability and delegitimises the mandate of the winner, triggering one crisis after another.
13 Apr 2021

Reinstating LGs

THE PTI government in Punjab is sending confused and conflicting signals to people when it comes to the critical...
13 Apr 2021

Remembering I.A. Rehman

THE quest for a progressive society in Pakistan, at peace with itself and its neighbours, suffered a big setback in...