Vivek Oberoi, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff and other celebrities who agreed to spread political propaganda for exchange of money.
In an incriminating sting operation conducted by the investigative website Cobrapost, around 36 celebrities agreed to spread the propaganda of political parties on social media for money.
For this sting operation titled, ‘Operation Karaoke’, Cobrapost reporter posed as a PR agent represented three major parties – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party while contacting the actors. He offered cash to celebs to influence public opinion by posting politically-charged messages supporting a particular political party on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Actors Vivek Oberoi, Sunny Leone, Shakti Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Amisha Patel, Mahima Chaudhary, Sonu Sood, Rakhi Sawant, Shreyas Talpade, Puneet Issar, Tisca Chopra, Rohit Roy, Minissha Lamba, Aman Verma singers including Kailash Kher, Abhijeet Bhattacharya, Baba Sehgal, Mika, the comedians Raju Srivastava, Sunil Pal and Rajpal Yadav; and the choreographer Ganesh Acharya were some of those caught on camera accepting the deal for money.
#OperationKaraoke An investigation by Cobrapost exposes three dozen Bollywood celebrities, including famous singers, comedians & actors, willing to post messages as their personal opinion on social media, on behalf of political parties, All for money.https://t.co/LUpB5REN13 pic.twitter.com/RTIxvlg23c
— Cobrapost (@cobrapost) February 19, 2019
During the operation, there were also some celebrities who had turned down the offer for the promotion of parties by taking money. The names include Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Raza Murad and Saumya Tandon, who refused the offer and wanted nothing to do with it.
According to their brand value, celebrities were offered Rs 2 lakh to Rs 20 lakh per message. Sonu Sood asked the reporters-cum-agents for Rs 20 crore, while Shakti Kapoor wanted to be paid in black, some celebs like Minissha Lamba , Aman Verma asked to be paid the entire amount in cash.
Actor Vivek Oberoi, who is portraying Prime Minister Narendra Modi in PM’s upcoming biopic also referred to the `ripple effect’ his message would have, due to the large following on social media.
Now after getting exposed in this sting operation, celebrities have started explaining their view.
“Their intentions are not right … This is just propaganda to discredit me and sabotage my reputation,” Sonu Sood told Gulf News. He wrote on Twitter:
Truth shall prevail !!! pic.twitter.com/8ivfm9lqm1
— sonu sood (@SonuSood) February 19, 2019
Canadian-born actress Sunny Leone was caught allegedly demanding Indian citizenship for her husband Daniel Weber in exchange for her support towards BJP, in sting operation video.
Leone immediately took to Twitter to claim that she isn’t “campaigning for any particular party”. She wrote
Clarity !!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/tQ192e4J0W
— Sunny Leone (@SunnyLeone) February 19, 2019
While some celebrities are giving their clarification on the sting operation, actors like Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Raza Murad and Saumya Tandon were commended by fans on Twitter for not accepting the offer.
— Ankit Ahuja (@ankitahuja0211) February 20, 2019
The only surprising bit about the Cobrapost exposé was that some Bollywood stars refused to engage in the exercise of tweeting for political parties for money. A big shout-out to Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Raza Murad & Saumya Tandon.
— SamSays (@samjawed65) February 19, 2019
— Not Arun Jaitley (@ArainJutley) February 19, 2019
— Asif Jawaid🇮🇳 (@Asif_Jawaid94) February 20, 2019
— Neeraj Sharma (@niraj_h_sharma) February 20, 2019
— Abhishek Verma (@abhisekwa) February 19, 2019
— Yasa Iqbal (@yasaiqbal) February 19, 2019
So much for patriotism and nationalism.
Spineless celebrities who can do anything for money.
Kudos to Vidya Balan, Arshad Warsi, Raza Murad and Saumya for refusing to sell… https://t.co/fqUJ252aTa
— Babita Gyamtso (@babstweetz) February 20, 2019