Olympic medal winning puglist, Vijender Singh's acting stint in a Bollywood movie and advertisements can land him in trouble. Vijender (29), who is also a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Haryana continues to dabble in Bollywood despite not getting permission from the state police. Felicitated with the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award and Padma Shri in successive years, the boxer acted in a commercial Bollywood movie Fugly, co-produced by Bollywood star, Akshay Kumar under the banner of Grazing Goat Production which was released in June 2014.
'No permission granted for acting'
As per information provided by Haryana Police under Right to Information Act, the boxer has not been granted any permission by the Police department to work in films or advertisements. The information was supplied to Hisar resident Naresh Saini by the Police headquarters in June and December 2014.
The boxer, who was appointed DSP in Haryana police under sports quota, though had sought the permission of police department for shooting in films. Officials at police headquarters on Monday also confirmed that Singh was not granted any permission for acting.
As per the Section 53 of Haryana Police Act, no police officer shall engage in any other employment or office of profit whatsoever, other than his duties under the Act. Besides, Section 55 of the Act stipulate express permission of the state government to become a member of or be associated in any way with any other society, institution, association, or organisation that is not recognised as part of any class of trade unions, labour unions or political associations.
Asked how he acted in a film and ads despite permission, Vijender declined to comment. "I don't have to say anything in this matter. Thank you," he said before hanging up.
High court order
The Karnataka government in 2004 had issued instructions prohibiting all government servants from acting in films and tele serials. The instructions was challenged by an IAS officer, K Shivaramu ( now retired ) stating that he was earlier accorded permission to act in six Kannada feature films and acted in these films without receiving any remuneration, fee or royalty. Shivaramu had contended that acting in films was a form of expression under Article 19 (1) of the Constitution which guaranteed freedom of speech and expression as laid by Supreme Court in various judgments.
The High court in 2011 dismissed Shivaramu's petition on the pretext that the films he was acting in were being produced as business ventures by the producers. "He could not directly or indirectly involve himself in such business ventures even if it is to accept that the petitioner derived no monetary benefit from the venture. Secondly, the petitioner is, by the very fact of acting in a film, alternatively employed. This is impermissible,'' said justice Anand Byrareddy of the Karnataka high court in his order. The single bench order was later upheld by a division bench of the High Court in 2012.
'Will police take action'
The Hisar-based RTI applicant, who sought information about Olympian boxer in a series of applications, said it was strange that officials were still considering if he can be given permission when his movie has already been released last year. "I am sure he didn't work in that movie for free. Besides, he also worked in some reality shows. I am sure that it is not for any charitable cause. The question now is whether police department will take action against him or not?" asked the RTI applicant.
Ramp walks and reality shows
However, ever since the boxer won Olympic bronze medal in 2008, he is seen doing ramp walks, modeling and ad campaigns. As per media reports, his commercial brand value is close to Rs 1.5 crore in endorsements and is managed by Percept India, a celebrity management firm.
Presently the boxer-turned-actor is busy acting for a reality TV show for a private channel. Controversies are not new to the boxer. In 2013, he was embroiled in a drugs controversy during investigations by Punjab police. However, he was given a clean chit by National Anti Doping Agency after he tested negative for banned substances including heroin.