The Government of Tamil Nadu has appointed a special officer to manage the affairs of the Tamil Film Producers’ Council (TFPC) for a period of a year. The order, issued to the Council today, states that the allegations of non-transparency and fund mismanagement have been proven, and the TFPC’s response to the Government’s show-cause notice issued last month did not hold water.
For a year starting from today, N Sekar, the district registrar (admin) of central Chennai, will manage the Council’s affairs. The order states that he will take speedy action to set right mismanagement, and will hand over the affairs to the members after conducting elections within a year. Producer T Siva, one of the dissenting members of TFPC, welcomed this move and told Silverscreen that the enquiry was in response to the several complaints and protests they have raised over the last few months.
In a 12-page order, the Government stated that, after investigation, three main allegations against the Council have been found to be true: the income and expenditure of the Council has run into several crores without passing the test of approval by the general body; the Council has not conducted general body meetings; and it has issued pension, gifts and financial aid for weddings, in violation of the provisions under Tamil Nadu Societies Regulation Act.
The order to the response filed by office bearers Vishal Krishna, Kathiresan, SS Durairaj and SR Prabhu to the showcause notice sent by the Government last month further says that the Council’s explanation “trying to correlate the reported mismanagement of funds to the backing of a vague bye law directly supports such actions”, and its submission that funds were infused by way of loans whenever there was a shortage showed that the Council accepts that there was mismanagement.
The TFPC has been in the centre of controversy for over a year now. A group of producers had alleged irregularities in the Council’s functioning, financial mismanagement, authoritarian decision making by Council president Vishal, and other issues. In December last year, the conflict between the two factions intensified when the Council offices were locked and sealed by the dissenting producers, and Vishal was arrested by the police. The Madras High Court ordered his release and ordered the offices to be opened, but also appointed actor-director-producer Partheipan to the executive board. Partheipan, however, resigned ahead of the TFPC-organised ‘Ilaiayaraaja 75’ mega event that faced roadblocks due to alleged irregularities.
The producers have alleged that the Council spent around Rs 7.8 crore without informing the general body. Details regarding the amount spent would be revealed after further investigation.
T Siva also said that “Papers will be scrutinised again and till matters reach a conclusion, the special officer will manage the Council. A committee will be appointed to run the day-to-day activities. No office bearer from the existing body can be a part of the committee. The time period given for the officer is one year, but he won’t take that long. In two or three months, he’ll finish the inquiry, submit a report and declare elections. This is definitely a hopeful move. Whoever comes next will be cautious. Funds have a never been an issue in TFPC before. Vishal was an incapable leader and that was the problem for all of this.”
Meanwhile, hours before news of the appointment of the special officer made headlines this morning, the TFPC issued a circular to its members saying that the annual general body meeting would be conducted on May 1. It remains unclear if the meeting will take place or not, as the general body will be dissolved by then. Speaking to Silverscreen, producer SS Durairaj, general secretary of TFPC said, “When a special officer is appointed, the decisions have to be taken by him. We’ve already sent a circular to members regarding the meeting, but we’ll know whether it will be conducted or not only on Monday.”
He further maintained that the allegations proven in the investigation could be dismissed because the money from the Council’s funds were only given to members for their welfare.