Hours after Amitabh Bachchan denied charging Rs 6.31 crore to promote the new DD Kisan channel, Lintas, the ad agency that represents the channel, said that it had learnt only today of his decision to work pro-bono or free of cost, for it.
A Lintas spokesman said on Monday evening, "We received formal communication from his office this afternoon, that upon reviewing the work-in-progress contract with his team, Mr. Bachchan has taken a decision on principle that he will not charge any fee on issues involving social causes and those that are in the best interest of the nation."
"Mr. Bachchan has taken a decision on principle that he will not charge any fee on issues involving social causes and those that are in the best interest of the nation. In light of today's development, we have initiated the process of refund to our client, DD Kisan, for the amount collected for Mr Bachchan's celebrity endorsement," the spokesman said.
Lintas said the money had not been paid to the actor pending his "signing of the contract terms".
Earlier on Monday, Mr Bachchan had sought to squelch controversy over reports that he had been paid the high endorsement fee to promote the public-funded channel launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May.
"I have not entered into any contract with Doordarshan on the endorsement of their Channel DD Kisan, and neither have I received any money from them," the 72-year-old actor said in a statement, adding, "I work pro bono on various issues and DD Kisan Channel is one of them."
The top actor also said, "If there is any evidence or proof to the contrary, please forward them to me for verification."
Three days ago, newspaper The Hindu reported that Amitabh Bachchan had been paid Rs 6.31 crore for the ad, which, it claimed, was the most expensive endorsement ever by him.
The BJP had promised a channel for farmers ahead of the 2014 general elections, for which Union finance minister Arun Jaitley made an allocation of Rs 100 crore during the 2014-2015 budget.
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