Delhi's Lokayukta has indicted Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for misuse of public funds in advertisements meant for a "political purpose" ahead of assembly elections in 2008.
Justice Manmohan Sarin, who heads the anti-graft ombudsman, has also recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to advise Ms Dikshit to reimburse, either herself or through her party, Rs 11 crore as half the cost incurred by her government for putting out the advertisements.
The Lokayukta's observations were part of his inquiry into a complaint filed by Vijender Gupta, the former BJP chief of the Delhi unit, wherein he had accused Ms Dikshit of abusing her position as Chief Minister by carrying out an advertisement campaign with a view to gaining political mileage in the 2008 polls. He had also alleged that the government machinery, particularly the Department of Information and Publicity, was instructed to make an elaborate plan to project the Chief Minister in a positive light to gain advantage and overcome the anti-incumbency factor. Mrs Dikshit held charge of the department at the time.
"The pattern of advertisements published by the government of Delhi and the Congress Party clearly establishes a proximate and inextricable nexus between the two," the Lokayukta said today.
Justice Sarin has also recommended the framing of guidelines for publication of government advertisements regarding development works and incorporation of safeguards to prevent misuse of public funds.