Vishal said he paid Rs 6.5 lakhs to get them to certify the Hindi version of his new film 'Mark Antony'.
A day after Tamil actor Vishal publicly accused officials at the Indian film certification body, popularly called the 'censor board', of corruption, it has said that despite an online certification system in place and "regular updates on new system improvements" for the film producers and applicants, they still choose to apply through intermediaries or agents, defeating its purpose of eliminating third-party involvement in the certification process. Sources said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will launch a probe into alleged corruption in the film certification body.
The Central Board of Film Certification, while assuring that it takes the allegations being reported "very seriously" and has zero tolerance for corruption, also said that any attempt to "malign the image of CBFC" will not be tolerated.
"With the implementation of aggressive digitization, complete process automation, and emphasis on minimal human intervention, the interference of intermediaries/agents has come down significantly however, the practice still exists in some regions which is defeating the purpose of transparency and smooth functioning of the certification process," the CBFC said in an official statement, as reported by news agency ANI.
The film certification body further requested filmmakers to apply their films well in advance to meet their scheduled release.
"However, in extreme cases of urgency, the producers/filmmakers may approach the higher officials at CBFC along with a written request and reasonable grounds for an early examination which may be entertained on a merit basis," the statement said.
Actor Vishal's nearly four-minute long video addressed to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, naming two individuals from the censor board with details of online bank transfers, triggered a swift response by the ruling BJP, with the Information and Broadcasting Ministry rushing a senior officer to Mumbai to "conduct an inquiry today itself".
The ministry's Friday afternoon post on X came less than 24 hours after Vishal said he paid Rs 6.5 lakhs for the censor board to certify the Hindi version of his new film, 'Mark Antony', which released across northern Indian states last week.
The actor in a post on X this morning thanked the Information and Broadcasting Ministry "for taking immediate steps" in the matter, and said he was hoping for this to be "an example for every government official who intends to or is part of corruption and to take the honest route to serve the nation and not the steps of corruption".
Actor Vishal also thanked PM Modi and Chief Minister Shinde in his post.