Papon ‘barred forever’ from Essel Group after kiss row

Mumbai, Feb 25 (IANS) Singer Angarag Mahanta, also known as Papon, has been barred from Essel Group after the singer “inappropriately kissed” a minor contestant of one of the group’s shows.

Earlier on Saturday, Papon had tweeted that following the controversy, he was in “no mental state to fulfil most of my professional obligations” and so he stepped down as the judge of singing reality show “The Voice India Kids”.

Addressing the issue, Subhash Chandra, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and Chairman, Essel Group & ZEE, tweeted on Saturday: “I have advised CMD of the company to take stringent action not only against him (Papon) but others involved. Papon is barred forever from our group.”

His recorded episodes of the &TV show have also been removed.

Papon landed in trouble after a video in which he is seen planting a kiss on the lips of the minor girl went viral online on Friday.

The same day, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) issued notice to both the singer and the channel.

“The Papon incident is unfortunate and is unequivocally condemned. Anyone who fails to abide by our code of conduct will not be engaged by our network,” read a statement from &TV, which is the Hindi GEC of Zee group.

“We have faith in the judicial system to take the necessary actions that they deem fit. We have extended our full cooperation to the concerned authorities.”

Immediately after the incident was brought to their notice, an internal enquiry was initiated.

“After the enquiry, instant support was extended towards the participants and their families.”

An on-call psychologist is available to “offer counsel to the children and their parents and an external counsel has been appointed” to address the situation.

“We are committed to the well-being of our participants and would like to restate that a safe and secure environment is of utmost priority to us,” read the statement.

The police in Guwahati have registered a case against the Assamese singer.

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