Why Leela Samson has been shrouded with controversies wherever she went?

 

Why Leela Samson has been shrouded with controversies wherever she went?

Leela Samson booked by CBI

Secularism versus communalism: In India, because of the “secularism” cult, misnomer and handling of the issues with deceit, many times the real secular issues are communalized and the secular ones also slowly communalized. The Mohammedan Khilafat, Muslim appeasement, Jihadi manipulations and ultimately ISIS holy war, and today’s burning of trains and railway stations by the Mohammedans prove the disease. Certain groups under the guise of secularism, have always been creating problems in India running riots. Leela Samson, in spite of her talents in Bharata Natyam, unfortunately, indulged in certain unprofessional activities in Kalaskhetra proving her inbuilt communal bias.  Being minorities, it is intriguing and shocking to know why and how the Mohammedans and Christians intrude and infiltrate government organizations and institutions to harass, affect and exploit majority Hindus by all means. Here, though Leela Samson is considered as an individual, the issues around her expose serious issues with ramifications.

Leela Samson, Priyanka Vadra

Leela Samson has been close to Sonia family: Samson is known for her proximity to the Nehru-Gandhi political dynasty of the Indian National Congress, as she was the dance tutor of Priyanka Vadra. Samson held six key positions in the 10 years of Congress-led United Progressive Alliance regime. Many papers including the Indian Express alleged favouritism regarding her appointment as the chairperson of the censor board by UPA govt in 2011: Leela Samson’s appointment as chairperson of the Censor Board has raised the question as to whether the well-known Bharatanatyam dancer will have time to devote to her new assignment. In 2010, Samson was appointed chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, another prestigious position. The academy is the apex body for the performing arts. Samson is also ex-officio head of the south zone cultural centre. Apart from these commitments, she has a full-time job as director of Kalakshetra in Chennai. Samson, who was once Priyanka Gandhi’s dance teacher, has no particular connection with the world of cinema. After her appointment, Samson candidly admitted that she seldom watches films.

Leela Samson with MSG censor board

Censor Board controversy questioned her credibility: Samson’s tenures at Kalakshetra, Sangeet Natak Akademi and the censor board were mired with many controversies amid allegations of corruption, illegal appointments and arbitrary awarding of contracts, financial irregularities, Samson was criticised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad when she passed the 2014 Aamir Khan-starrer movie PK without any cuts, even after two board members resigned after it was granted certification, due to content allegedly designed to ridicule Hindu religious philosophy and hurt Hindu sentiments. Veteran Bollywood actor and a former chairperson of the censor board Anupam Kher criticised Samson for playing politics by making partisan allegations while tendering her resignation. This criticism was made highlighting the history of CBFC under her leadership which agreed to make cuts in Entertainment after protests by Muslim groups[30] and also agreed to make cuts in Kamaal Dhamaal Malamaal after protests by Christian groups, personally assuring them that “necessary action had been taken”.

Leela Samson at Kalakhetra

Leela Samson involved in controversy from the beginning – 2005[1]: Leela Samson’s sudden exit as director of  Kalakshetra Foundation came despite the fact that she had the backing of the government to continue in the post. While Samson stated in her resignation that the Union government and the foundation’s governing board did not want her to continue in the post after the age of 60, the Union government had, in fact, defended her in court over the past year, even disregarding advice from the additional solicitor-general in the matter and filing a counter-affidavit to protect her post. In June 2011, C S Thomas, a retired teacher at Kalakshetra, had filed a writ petition in the Madras high court challenging the legality of Samson remaining director of the foundation after the age of 60, the statutory retirement age for Central government employees. After she resigned on April 12, 2012, Samson said the issue had come up in a board meeting on April 10 and she saw no reason to stay on in the post if she did not have the support of the ministry, the chairman and the board[2].

Leela Samson with Ambika Soni, christian nexus

UPA supported her legally: Following a counter affidavit by the Union ministry of culture, the high court instructed the additional solicitor-general of India to seek instruction in the matter and inform the court whether the retirement age of 60 applied to the post of the director of Kalakshetra Foundation. In response, the undersecretary to the government of India had informed him that “Leela Samson, director, Kalakshetra Foundation should have retired at the age of 60 years even though the age of retirement is not mentioned in the Kalakshetra Foundation Act, or in the recruitment rules for the post of director nor in the order of appointment (notification) dated February 28, 2005”. However, in a show of support to Samson, the Centre disregarded this instruction and filed a counter affidavit in the high court in August 2011 stating that the post of director of Kalakshetra had to be treated differently from that of a government employee. “Leela Samson was appointed to the post of the director through a search committee after the government took over the institute and her appointment was different from that of the other employees. So the Central government rules did not apply to her,” said a source in the culture ministry. Samson filed a counter in the HC in July 2011, stating that she had been “appointed to the post of the director of Kalakshetra Foundation on the basis that she was a former student of the school and had been taught by Rukmini Devi, the founder”. According to the Kalakshetra Act, appointments to the post of a director are governed by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Department of Culture, Kalakshetra Foundation, Chennai, (Director) Recruitment Rules, 2002. Although the rules specify 55 as the upper age limit for a person to assume the post of director, they do not mention a retirement age.

Leela Samson secular censor board

In 2019, CBI booked case: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case of corruption and criminal breach of trust against Padma Shree awardee Leela Samson, former director of Kalakshetra Foundation, and four others for financial irregularities in the renovation of Koothambalam Auditorium on its wooded Chennai campus[3]. The CBI FIR, based on a complaint from secretary and the chief vigilance officer of the union ministry of culture, names four suspects and says they spent Rs 62.20 lakh more than the estimated amount of Rs 7.01 crore on the project[4].

The accused persons are –

  1. Leela Samson,
  2. TS Murthi, the then chief accounts officer at Kalakshetra Foundation,
  3. S Ramachandran, accounts officer and
  4. V Srinivasan, an engineer at the Foundation, besides and
  5. Ravi Neelakantan, proprietor of M/s CARD and
  6. M/s Chennai Engineers[5].

CBI received the complaint dated May 31, 2017, about ‘unfruitful expenditure’ of Rs 7.01 crore made on the renovation of Koothambalam Auditorium at Kalakshetra Foundation. It alleged that work order for the renovation was awarded by the Foundation officials at a higher rate through the architect-consultant ‘Centre for Architectural Research and Design’ (CARD) without following the General Financial Rules (GRF)[6].

Leela Samson at Kalakhetra, questioned 3 crore fraud

From CAG finding, the fraud got exposed: The Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) audited the expenditure of the Foundation and brought out various lapses in executing the renovation works. It was also pointed out that the renovation works were undertaken without formal sanction of the governing board and finance committee of the Foundation. This led to a huge controversy after which Samson resigned from the post of director and member of the civil works panel in 2012. Thereafter, the matter was referred to the CVC of the Ministry. The Central Public Works Department team in Chennai inspected the work in 2016 and assessed that the Foundation had spent approximately Rs 62.20 lakh more than the estimated amount. The team also found that the contracts were awarded at a higher rate and payments made to the contractors. In 2017, the vigilance department of the ministry forwarded the complaint to the CBI after which a preliminary enquiry was carried out.

Leela Samson at Kalakhetra, questioned

The auditorium controversy: Samson was the Director of the Foundation between May06, 2005, and April 30, 2012. It was felt in 2006 that the auditorium built by the Foundation in 1985 needed renovation, they said. The project aimed to upgrade the sound system of the Koothambalam auditorium, built-in 1985, followed by civil engineering works, electrical works, air conditioning and architectural features, the CBI FIR said. The 33rd Governing Body meeting held in 2009 decided to form a civil works advisory committee and PT Krishnan, Leela Samson and Madhavi Mudgal were to prepare necessary estimation based on the recommendations of the Governing Board, it said[7]. The civil works committee appointed CARD as consultant architect in 2010 which gave contracts for 28 renovation works to five contractors while the committee also selected some contractors, it said[8]. The ministry alleged in the complaint that the open tender process was not followed in awarding the contracts. It also alleged that Samson failed to apprise the non-official members of the Works Committee about the GFR norms and inform the Works Committee about the CAG Inspection Report received in August 2011[9]. “Instead, approval of the Works Committee was obtained for two major expenditures in September and December 2011. She failed to place the CAG Inspection Report in the meeting of Finance Committee and General Body meeting held on January 23, 2012, and January 24, 2012, respectively and kept these bodies under dark,” the agency has alleged[10]. The FIR, citing reports, alleged even if there were only limited sources of supply of sophisticated equipment for sound, stage lighting, these were not justified in the file notings for resorting to limited tender, and hence there was no justification in not resorting to open bidding. She was allegedly responsible for the losses incurred by the Foundation on account of not opting for open tendering as also mandated by the General Body, it said.

Leela Samson PIL questioned 2012 India Today

Has propaganda war started?: Now again, secular categories could question the actions and proceedings as communal, as the Hindutwa government has been at the centre. Even, they could go to the extent of criticizing that the right-wing nazist and fascist forces have been trying to trample the human rights of the minorities. The rule of second term of NDA has started just now, but, the issues have been multiplied and problems created have been running riots. Instead of concentrating on the economic and other progressive issues, parliamentary debates have been becoming political platform speeches and emotions are whipped up based on race and linguistic fanaticism. How then, rulers could concentrate on the welfare of people as a whole?

© Vedaprakash

16-12-2019

Leela Samson with Congress Digvijay singh

[1] Times of India, Samson had Centre’s backing to continue, Sharanya Gautam | TNN | Updated: May 1, 2012, 5:42 IST

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Samson-had-Centres-backing-to-continue/articleshow/12945323.cms

[2] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chennai/Samson-had-Centres-backing-to-continue/articleshow/12945323.cms

[3] Times of India, CBI registers corruption case against Leela Samson, 3 other Kalakshetra officials, Selvaraj A | TNN | Updated: Dec 14, 2019, 17:09 IST.

[4] https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/cbi-books-ex-sangeet-natak-akademi-chairperson-leela-samson-over-irregularities/articleshow/72591891.cms

[5] Indian Express, CBI books ex-Sangeet Natak Akademi chairperson Leela Samson over irregularities, Dec 14, 2019, 17:09 IST.

[6] https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/chennai/cbi-books-ex-sangeet-natak-akademi-chairperson-leela-samson-over-irregularities-6166593/

[7] News.18, CBI Books Ace Bharatnatyam Dancer Leela Samson Over Irregularities in Spending on Chennai Auditorium, PTI, Updated:December 14, 2019, 3:27 PM IST

[8]  https://www.news18.com/news/india/cbi-books-ace-bharatnatyam-dancer-leela-samson-over-irregularities-in-spending-on-chennai-auditorium-2424007.html

[9] FirstPost, CBI books dancer and Padma Shri awardee Leela Samson, three others for ‘unfruitful expenditure’ on Chennai auditorium, India Press Trust of India Dec 14, 2019 18:43:52 IST.</p>

[10] https://www.firstpost.com/india/cbi-books-dancer-and-padma-shri-awardee-leela-samson-three-others-for-unfruitful-expenditure-on-chennai-auditorium-7782751.html

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