Five months after his Bigg Boss win, several members have spoken up against the model-turned-actor accusing him of cheating and breaching their trust.

Why some members of Kaushal Army are upset with the Bigg Boss contestant
Flix Controversy Tuesday, February 26, 2019 - 16:35

Model-turned-actor Kaushal Manda became a popular household name in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after he won season two of the popular show ‘Bigg Boss Telugu’ in August. However, five months on, some of his self-proclaimed fans – who had then dubbed themselves the 'Kaushal Army' – are quite upset with him.

Prominent members of the Kaushal Army have accused the actor of cheating and breaching their trust.   

The dissenting members of the group appeared on local Telugu news channel TV5 on Monday night, accusing Kaushal of collecting money amounting to several lakh rupees from his fans across the world but not giving them any details of where the money is being sent.  They alleged that while he had sought funds and donations for philanthropy, Kaushal has spent all the money on himself.

Kaushal’s Bigg Boss win was a result of his self-proclaimed fans forming hundreds of pages on Twitter and Facebook as well as several WhatsApp groups, after which the actor started a foundation.  

"The foundation was started in October. But the problems have started over the past two months or so. The foundation had received a lot of money from fans and so we asked for an account of the money and where it is being spent. Kaushal kept dodging that and postponing it, always assuring us that he will give us the numbers soon. So many people have given so much money, so we have a right to know. If not every month, at least once in six months, he should disclose," Hari, a producer and a prominent member of the 'Army' based out of Kurnool, tells TNM.

Hari claims that an account number which was apparently the foundation’s bank account number was circulated in WhatsApp groups and on social media by Kaushal. Several people donated varying amounts – from Rs 500 to Rs 10,000 – on the promise that the funds would be used for social causes.

"Rs 1.5 lakh was spent on relief and rehabilitation after Cyclone Titli hit the Andhra Pradesh coast. Some Rs 50,000 was also donated to the Indian army after the Pulwama attack. We are not denying that some work happened," says Hari, but adding that there still several discrepancies in the figures.

"He doesn't have any answers when we demand transparency. While around 15 to 20 people have spoken up publicly, hundreds have the same sentiment. We were very active, we rallied so many people in support. In fact, I have done a lot of social work under the foundation's name. I even decided to shoot a film with Kaushal. He wanted to shoot a song in November and I gave him Rs 5 lakh. I kept asking him about it because he didn't release it. For the past one and a half months, they have been saying that it is in post-production. When I continued questioning him, he turned all his fans against me and they started abusing me," Hari alleges.

On the programme that aired on Monday night, the dissenting members of the group also came armed with bank statements showing the transfer of funds as well as the audio and video recordings of Kaushal.

"When he was in the Bigg Boss house, we spent time from 6 am to 3 am casting votes for Kaushal. We rallied so many people to support him and invested so much of our time into this. But once he came out, his attitude changed," Emaam, another prominent member of the group, said.

One of the videos that Emaam showed was of him staging a sit-in in front of Kaushal's car, saying, "So many days have gone by since you have established the foundation. You haven't given us a single account. You are hiding the people's money and cheating money under the name of the foundation."

Another video allegedly showed Kaushal and his wife, Neelima, ‘admitting’ to their fault and promising to come clean. However, the audio is not clear.

The former supporters of the actor also claimed that Kaushal would instigate his fans to post comments on videos that portrayed him in a negative light.

"You guys seem to have become dull. I am your energy and you are all my energy. You should be active. Earlier, when someone used to post about us or our army on YouTube, there would be active replies but of late, I can't find that many replies," Kaushal is heard saying in one such audio note.

“You have no right to speak out or question him. If anyone questions him in the groups, he asks others to target the person. Women have received so many abusive messages in this manner and then you are kicked out of the groups as well. I felt so bad," said Anamika, a woman on the programme, who claimed to have donated Rs 10,000 to the foundation.  

The members who are protesting against Kaushal have demanded a public apology and answers to their questions about the accounts and transactions by the foundation.

Kaushal has responded to the outrage in a Facebook post. “I understand that you people are upset with what has been happening since the past couple of days. The allegations passed are senseless and I don't even have to prove them to be wrong. I haven't got all the time for bulls**t and if I keep answering to every judgement passed, the people will keep trying to bring me down. What I'm at the Big Boss house is what I'm and that would be me regardless of any circumstance. Just a few people talking against could never bring me down. I've been through a lot in the past and this compares to nothing. With time, everything would be cleared out. Just wait for the truth to be out before passing judgements (sic),” he says.