Cobrapost: These cine celebs agreed to ‘cash-for-tweet offer’ to promote political propaganda

NEW DELHI: Cobrapost is back. And this time, the shocking expose by Cobrapost called “Operation Karaoke” involve more than 36 celebrities from film and TV industry willing to promote the propaganda of political parties through their social media accounts-in exchange for money, which they asked to be paid in cash, in other words in untaxed black money.

Titled “Operation Karaoke”, a 60-minute documentary film released on Tuesday caught as many as three dozen actors, dancers, singers and models accepting the offer for promoting political parties through hidden cameras during a sting operation conducted by media portal Cobra Post over a period of 3-4 months last year.

The reporters, acting as agents working on behalf of the Congress, the BJP or the Aam Aadmi Party, made an offer to pay 10-20 per cent of the decided sum in cheque or bank transfer, and the rest through cash, which the celebrities accepted.

These celebs agreed to promote the party — any which was proposed to them — to create a favourable environment before the 2019 general elections.

Celebrities from Bollywood industry who agreed to be a part of the foul practice are Jackie Shroff, Shakti Kapoor, Sonu Sood, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chaudhry, Vivek Oberoi, Puneet Issar, Surendra Pal, Shreyas Talpade, Aman Verma, Hiten Tejwani, his wife Gauri Pradhan, Tisca Chopra, Rohit Roy, Deepshikha Nagpal, Akhilendra Mishra, Rahul Bhat, Salim Zaidi, Pankaj Dheer, his son Nikitin Dheer, Rakhi Sawant, Evelyn Sharma, Minissha Lamba, Koena Mitra, Poonam Pandey and Sunny Leone.

Comedians who got exposed are Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal, Rajpal Yadav, Upasana Singh, Krushna Abhishek and Vijay Ishwarlal Pawar. Choreographers Ganesh Acharya and Sambhavana Seth also come in the list.

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Playback singer Abhijeet Bhattacharya can be seen on camera railing against Muslims and suggesting ideas on how to make the entire exercise seem more natural. “Abhi jaise ye teen talaq wala hai na teen talaq wala toh usko positive karna hai ki Muslim mard toh mard hee hote hain unka kaam hee hai Muslim mard kee tareh in auraton ko … auraton ko izzat dijiye wo aapki maa hai wo aapki bahen hai wo aapki beti hai theek hai wo aapki saas hai toh Modiji ne auraton par zyada dhyan diya hai (Right now there is this issue of triple talaq. I will write positive things about it saying that Muslim men are typical men who … give these women respect. They are after all your mother, your sister, your daughter or even your mother-in-law. Modiji is paying attention to their good).”

The video by Cobrapost shows Abhijeet suggesting that the issue of Triple Talaq be linked to the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao campaign. “Toh Beti Bachao Beti Padhao maybe teen talaq mein se hee aata hai beti kisi na kisi kee toh beti hai toh iss tareh jahan par jo garam mudda hai na usko open kijiye log chunenge baaki toh wo fir aisa lagega ki chal raha hai (Maybe Beti Bachao Beti Parhao arises out of this triple talaq. A woman is a daughter of someone. Take up such a hot issue to open debate. People would jump at it. Otherwise, it will look something like routine).”

YouTube video

Cobrapost also claims actor Ameesha Patel allegedly wants payment in advance before she began tweeting. In the video, she says:

“Samajho aap 28 ko aa rahe ho transaction ho jaata hai 28 kee sham ko main kar doongi taaki first week of September mein jab aapka pehla aa jaye toh wo paanch din ka gap rahega toh wo (Suppose, you say you are coming on 28. If the transaction takes place on 28, I will post the tweet that very evening. So, when I receive the first advance in the first week of September, there will be a gap of five days).”

Amisha Patel has 3.95 million, Vivek Oberoi above 2 million and Sonu Sood 1.5 million followers on Twitter. Jackie Shroff has 2.27 lakh, Kailash Kher has over 5 lakh and Tisca Chopra of ‘Taare Zameen Par’ fame has 3.20 lakh followers on Twitter.

The impact most of these celebrities can have through their handles in denting or boosting a party’s image can be gauged from the number of followers almost each of them has on Twitter.