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Kerala CM Oommen Chandy says no to Mohanlal's refund offer

Oommen Chandy Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 4 (IANS) Putting an end to all speculations, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said the state ...

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News 04 Feb 2015, 17:50 IST
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Oommen Chandy

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 4 (IANS)

Putting an end to all speculations, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday said the state government has no moral right to accept the money that they gave to superstar Mohanlal. Mohanlal was paid for his musical band's performance at the opening ceremony of the 35th National Games, held here last week.

"There is an agreement that the government has entered into with Mohanlal for the conduct of his programme. Even if he says that he will return the money, the Kerala government has no moral right to take back the money," said Chandy.

Since the conduct of the event, which incidentally was the debut performance of Mohanlal's newly-formed musical band Lalisom, both the superstar and the government have come in for much criticism over the poor quality of the programme.

Snubbed by a massive social media outcry targeting Mohanlal, the film star went into a shell and, in an email to Kerala Sports Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, said he will return the Rs.1.63 crore that he had taken towards expenses incurred -- he pointed out that he did not charge any fee for his appearance.

Sources close to the actor have pointed out that Wednesday morning, he has, in a speed post mailed a draft of Rs.1.63 crore to the state government, thereby closing the lid over the controversy.

Chandy, meanwhile, had to face a barrage of questions on the rationale behind the government defending Mohanlal's inferior quality programme.

"I spoke to him when we fixed his programme and he had made it very clear that he had very little time. Now after all what has happened, we feel sad that a great artiste like Mohanlal had to face all this. At no cost we will accept the money that he said he will return," said Chandy.

Chandy also observed that some vested interests have been trying for some time to play foul by working against the conduct of the National Games.

"First they said the Games will have to be postponed, then they said the equipment will not arrive. Once each and every venue was completed in the nick of time, they are after other things. The closing ceremony also will be conducted as planned and, mind you, the budget for each programme was fixed way back in 2011," the Kerala chief minister said.

"We have not changed any officials from the games committee, even though it was formed before our government assumed office," said Chandy, adding that once the Games end Feb 14, he will take a call on all the allegations that have been raised.

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