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CBI files case against artist Leela Samson, 4 others for alleged corruption

Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByNeeraj Chauhan and Amrita Madhukalya
Dec 14, 2019 01:37 PM IST

The case was registered on a complaint filed by the chief vigilance officer of the ministry of culture in May 2017 in which it was alleged that there was an “unfruitful expenditure” of ₹7.02 crore on the renovation.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case of corruption and criminal conspiracy against Leela Samson, a Bharatanatyam dancer and former director of Kalakshetra Foundation, and four others for alleged irregularities in the renovation of Koothambalam Auditorium in Chennai, officials said on Saturday.

The case was registered on a complaint filed by the chief vigilance officer of the ministry of culture in May 2017 in which it was alleged that there was an “unfruitful expenditure” of 7.02 crore on the renovation.

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The work orders for renovation was awarded at higher rate through Consultant Architect M/s CARD (Centre for Architectural Research and Design) without following General Financial Rules, 2005, it said.

Leela Samson served as the 12th chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, appointed by the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in August 2010.

But she resigned from her post in September 2014, a year before of the end of her tenure, spiking speculations that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government did not give her a free hand to function.

Samson was also the chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification, taking on the role in March 2011. She had quit in January 2015 after the Appellate Film Certification Tribunal cleared a film on Dera Sacha Sauda leader Ram Rahim, Messenger of God, despite the CBFC not clearing it.

Her resignation had led to a furore with several members quitting in solidarity.

Samson, a Padma Shri as well as Sangeet Natak Akademi Award recipient, trained under the legendary Rukmini Devi Arunadale at Kalakshetra.

She helmed the institution, which was declared as an institution of national importance and falls under the ministry of culture as an autonomous organisation, for seven years from 2005.

She also authored Arunadale’s biography, Rukmini Devi - A Life, and had a teaching stint at London’s Royal Opera House.

She had to step down from the foundation in 2012 after allegations of irregularities surfaced.

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