Bofors scandal to DD Kisan: Controversies surrounding Big B

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 22, 2015 02:29 IST
Amitabh Bachchan greeted the gathering with his charming smile.

Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan is always in the news and this time he has hit the headlines for his business contract to endorse DD Kisan, the national broadcaster Doordarshan's channel for farmers.

After reports emerged that the actor was roped in by the state-run channel for Rs 6.31 crore in the most expensive endorsement deal ever by an actor, Bachchan issued a statement saying he did not enter into "any contract" with Doordarshan to endorse DD Kisan.

"I wish to state that 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. I worked with the advertising agency Lowe Lintas on the campaign for DD Kisan, and have not entered into any contract with them either, nor have I received any money from Lintas, as being stated," Amitabh Bachchan said in his statement.

"My 'deliverables' on this campaign have been executed by me many days ago. I work pro bono on various issues and DD Kisan Channel is one of them," he said.

This is not the first time that the megastar has been embroiled in a controversy.

Here's a low down about the four times that he was in the news for all the wrong reasons:

'Inciting riots'
Bachchan was accused of raising anti-Sikh slogans which were broadcast by Doordarshan and All India Radio (AIR) after the assassination of former prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards on October 31, 1984 in New Delhi.

He had allegedly raised the slogan "Khoon Ka Badla Khoon" (Blood for Blood), against the Sikh community, which critics say might have been instrumental in inciting the infamous anti-Sikh riots.

Nearly 7,000 Sikhs were killed during the riots in various parts of the country following Gandhi's assassination. Over 3,000 were killed in the national capital alone.

Bachchan has, however, pledged his innocence in the case and had even written to the Akal Takht, the highest temporal seat of Sikh religion stating the same.

Bachchan and Bofors
In 1984, Bachchan contested in the 8th Lok Sabha elections from Uttar Pradesh's Allahabad and won with a huge margin. However, he had to resign as a member of Parliament after three years when a newspaper reported that he and his brother were involved in the scam involving Swiss arms manufacturer Bofors.

In 2012, Swedish whistle-blower in the Bofors case said that Bachchan was falsely implicated in the case. After the revelation, Bachchan wrote on his blog, "No one shall be able to understand or even remotely fathom, the hours and days and months and years of the anguish of petulant blame that I had to go through."

The Bofors scandal had cost the then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, and Bachchan's close friend, the general election in 1989.

Bachchan, the farmer
Bachchan was allotted about 4.142 hectares of agricultural land (about 70,000 square feet) in Daulatpur village of Barabanki district in 1983. He reportedly used the Daulatpur land allotment as a testimony to establish his credentials as a farmer to buy farmland in Pune, Maharashtra. The Maharashtra rules do not allow farmland to be sold to non-agriculturists.

The issue of the actor's credentials as a farmer and the purchase of land in Daulatpur surfaced in March 2006 following a query from the Pune district collector to his counterpart in Barabanki. The then Barabanki district magistrate, Ashish Goel, conducted an investigation and sifted through the land records of Daulatpur. His inquiry revealed alleged irregularities. Goel quashed the allotment in his March 24, 2006 order saying the entry of Bachchan's name in the revenue records was illegal and accused the film star of "misrepresenting facts" to avail himself of the benefit.

In June 2007, a Faizabad court dismissed a review petition filed by Bachchan in the agricultural land allotment case ruling that he was not a farmer.

Land again
Bachchan was again caught in a controversy related with a plot of land in Daulatpur village of UP's Barabanki, 30km east of Lucknow.

The megastar had donated the land purchased by him at Daulatpur to Nishtha foundation run by Bollywood actor Jaya Prada for building a girl's school. The move, however, had triggered a controversy as his decision was challenged by Avenendra Singh, the son of gram pradhan Rajkumari Singh. He had a lodged a complaint with the police accusing Big B of fraud and alleged that he had gone back on his promise.

Bachchan, however, was given a clean chit in the alleged land forgery case after the allegations were found to be baseless during an inquiry.

Nishtha Foundation returned the two plots to Bachchan. He then submitted a letter to the district magistrate stating that he wished to donate both plots to gram sabha as proposed by him earlier.

Read: I am always cautious about endorsing brands, says Amitabh

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