Naathicharami awards under favouritism cloud

Lingadevaru

In a major twist to this year’s National Film Awards where Kannada movie Naathicharami won five awards, the Karnataka High Court on Wednesday asked the Directorate of Film Festivals to complete an inquiry into complaints of possible conflict of interest involving director B S Lingadevaru.

Director Dayal Padmanabhan, the petitioner, argued that Lingadevaru, who was part of the jury of the central committee of 66th National Film Awards, is also a director of ‘Akka Communication’ in whose studio the film was edited.

Dayal had contended that Lingadevaru did not disclose that he was part of Akka Communication, thereby violating Article 14 of the Constitution.

On Wednesday, a single bench comprising Justice H T Narendra Prasad directed the Directorate of Film Festivals, under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, to take action according to the law by completing an inquiry into awarding five prizes to the movie.

The deputy director of the directorate submitted that it has already initiated an inquiry following the complaint. The directorate also contended that it has not shown any favouritism or bias towards anybody. The bench insisted that the directorate complete the inquiry and also set a deadline of eight weeks.

Responding to the HC order, Lingadevaru told DH that he welcomed the decision.

“I will fully cooperate with anybody for further inquiry in this matter. I have not done anything against the rules; the petitioners have made false allegations against me,” he said.

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