Thursday , February 21 2019

Setback for Kejriwal, Lt Governor orders Rs 97 cr to be recovered from Aam Aadmi Party


New Delhi: In a setback to the Kejriwal, Lt Governor Anil Baijal has directed Rs 97 cr to be recovered from Aam Aadmi Party that was supposedly “splurged” by the city government on advertisements in violation of the SC guidelines.

Lt Governor Anil Baijal also ordered an inquiry into the expenses on advertisements projecting CM Arvind Kejriwal and his party and asked the chief secretary to allocate responsibility.

The AAP will have to repay the money within a month.

The move comes months after a Centre-appointed 3-member committee indicted the Aam Aadmi Party government for “mishandling” exchequer money on advertisements.

Sources expressed to PTI that out of Rs 97 crore incurred on advertisements, government has so far paid Rs 42 crore to ad agencies and the Lt Governor has directed Chief Secretary M M Kutty to get the amount refunded from the AAP.

The rest Rs 55 crore, which is yet to be paid by the Kejriwal government, would be given by AAP to the ad agencies, according to the Lt Governor ‘s directions.

Previous year, the 3-member committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, had been constituted by the I&B ministry on directions of the SC to address disputes related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising.

“The LG has now directed the Chief Secretary to get the amount of Rs 97 crore from AAP,” a source stated.

In a report former this month, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also found that the AAP government spent Rs 29 crore in releasing advertisements outside Delhi which was “beyond” its responsibility.

It had also stated that advertisements worth Rs 24 crore released by it were in violation of financial propriety and SC regulations, stated the CAG report tabled in the Delhi Assembly on March 10.

The Aam Aadmi Party Government had rejected the report.

Previous year, the committee had received a complaint from Congress leader Ajay Maken condemning the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi of misusing public money on advertisements.

In its order in September last year, the panel had stated, “It came to the conclusion that the Government of NCT of Delhi has violated guidelines issued by the Hon’ble SC of India in 6 of the 9 areas listed by the complainant.”

In its order, the panel which also comprised adman Piyush Pandey and journalist Rajat Sharma, had stated that Aam Aadmi Party should be made to repay the expenditure since the violation of the SC order of May 13, 2015, has taken place.

The assessment of the expenditure should be made by the Delhi government, it stated.

The panel had also directed Delhi the government to assess expenditure incurred by it in issuing advertisements outside the area of Delhi on the occasion of various anniversaries

It had directed that the Delhi government assess expenditure on those advertisements or advertorials in which the name of AAP is mentioned, which publicized the views of the CM on incidents that took place in other states, and advertisements which targeted the opposition.

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