After last month’s sting operation conducted upon DHFL promoters, this time it’s a sting named “Operation Karaoke”—a 60-minute documentary film that allegedly exposes 36 Bollywood celebrities accepting large sums of cash in exchange for posting favorable messages on behalf of various political parties that would seem as if it’s their own personal opinion.
“Operation Karaoke” was projected to the media at Delhi Press Club on February 19, 2019, at 3.30 pm. The 36 celebrities “stung” by Cobrapost are: famous playback singers Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Kailash Kher, Mika Singh and Baba Sehgal; actors Jackie Shroff, Shakti Kapoor, Vivek Oberoi, Sonu Sood, Ameesha Patel, Mahima Chaudhry, Shreyas Talpade, Puneet Issar, Surendra Pal, Pankaj Dheer and his son Nikitin Dheer, Tisca Chopra, Deepshikha Nagpal, Akhilendra Mishra, Rohit Roy, Rahul Bhat, Salim Zaidi, Rakhi Sawant, Aman Verma, Hiten Tejwani and his wife Gauri Pradhan, Evelyn Sharma, Minissha Lamba, Koena Mitra, Poonam Pandey, Sunny Leone; comedians Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal, Rajpal Yadav, Upasana Singh, Krushna Abhishek and Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar; and choreographer Ganesh Acharya and dancer Sambhavana Seth.
All the above celebrities have got huge followers on their social media accounts, and they're tweets exert a huge influence on people.
Cobrapost’s proxy PR agency cleared the fact that this exercise isn’t any official campaigning for political parties but is a backdoor agenda-driven pre-election tactic. Cobrapost has claimed that the 36 celebrities all agreed and some also tweeted without even having been paid yet. They were willing to accept black money as payment, i.e. payment in cash.
According to Cobrapost: “The names of political parties were used, in good faith and public interest, for narrative purpose only, and this is not an insinuation of their actual involvement in the practice. The investigation was made to expose the celebs willing to endorse a political agenda in return for monetary gains.”
The money that’s offered to the celebrities allegedly ranges anywhere from between ₹2-50 lakh per message. Some actors, like Sonu Sood, allegedly demanded a whopping ₹20 crore for an eight-month contract and gave his word to deliver greatly on what was required. Others, like Minissha Lamba, agreed to accept payment in cash. And there are many like actor Jackie Shroff, Kailash Kher, Ameesha Patel etc, whose statements were stirring.
Therefore, the question that arises is, how are these celebrities accepting to take 80-90 percent of their payment in cash? It’s quite a curious matter as to what backchannel is being used to convert it into the white sum?
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