(added few months ago!)
Aishwarya Rai Not Paid any Money by Yeddy Regime, declares Katti: Even as Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa is fighting to save his gaddi from the internal bickering within the ruling BJP, the State Government was forced to issue a clarification over reports huge sums of money had been paid to popular Bollywood actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan to attend the recent Vishwa Kannada Sammelan at Belgaum.
Agriculture Minister Umesh V Katti, who is also the district in charge minister of the border district of Belgaum and had taken a leading role in organising the three-day mega event, on Friday told reporters in Bangalore that the State Government had not paid any money to the former Miss World and popular Hindi actor, who hails from coastal Dakshina Kannada district.
''All that the State Government did was to make special flight arrangements for the actor from Mumbai to Belgaum and return journey," the minister said declaring that the State Government had not paid any money to her.
The Minister’s statement assumes significance in the wake of reports that the government had paid huge amount of money to bring the former Miss World to the mega World Kannada Conference being held after a gap of 25 years allegedly to bolster the sagging image of Yeddyurappa.
The Minister claimed that the State Government had invited several Hindi actors from Karnataka, including actor Shilpa Shetty, but they could not participate due to their hectic schedule.
The world Kannada meet was inaugurated by Infosys founder, N R Narayan Murthy and Ms Rai was the special guest. Several leading Kannada film personalities had participated.
Referring to complaints regarding non-payment of honorarium to artistes who staged several programmes during the meet, Katti said a sum of Rs 2.34 crore had been set aside for the purpose.
The officials, who were in Belgaum, returned to Bangalore a few days after the event and the honorarium would be given to all artistes in a few days, he said. Noting that nearly 40 lakh people participated in the meet from various districts, he said the State Government had spent Rs 40 crore to hold the event on a grand manner.