NEW DELHI: A special committee appointed by the Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) administration has recommended withdrawing ‘blacklisting’ of 23 artistes who were ‘punished’ by the previous administration. While recommending the blacklisting withdrawal, the committee slammed former chairman Ashok Vajpeyi for alleged violation of ‘code of conduct’ and mixing official tours with pleasure trips.
The panel also pointed out that the previous administration unfairly took action against certain people while sparing others for similar offences. The committee—constituted on March 30, 2017—submitted its report on April 20 to the Ministry of Culture and recommended withdrawal of blacklisting.
Pointing at Vajpeyi’s role, the report stated, “The code of conduct was visibly violated not only by the LKA chairman Ashok Vajpeyi but by various GC members at different times… On the excuse of looking into the preliminary arrangements for participating in an art-exhibition to be held in Venice in 2011, Vajpeyi visited Venice in 2009 (that is, two years before the event).” The report added, “Vajpeyi made LKA to pay not only for his official visit to Venice but also for his pleasure visits to France and Switzerland.”
“I have never misused my position. These are only allegations,” Vajpeyi said. The report added, “Vajpeyi purchased his ticket from his personal travel agent and not from the LKA travel agent. This needs to be investigated.” It also said as per government rules Vajpeyi should have travelled by Air India, but he flew British Airlines and did not take mandatory permission before leaving.