New Delhi: Delhi's ruling Aam Aadmi Party has to pay a hefty 97 crores for spending public money on advertisements that project the party and its chief Arvind Kejriwal,in violation of the guidelines of the Supreme Court. Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, who issued the order, has asked the Chief Secretary to recover the money within 30 days. An inquiry should be held into the issue, the order said.
- Lieutenant Governor's order says payment must be made within 30 days
- Congress had alleged AAP government spent Rs 100 crore on self-promotion
- A 3-member probe committee said AAP violated Supreme Court guidelines
The order came after a 3-member committee formed by the Information and Broadcasting ministry ruled against AAP following an inquiry. Last year, the top auditor body -- the Comptroller and Auditor General -- had said that a chunk of the government's 526 crore publicity blitz had been used to promote the party and not the government.
AAP is yet to comment on the issue. The Chief Minister's office has said the Chief Minister, the Deputy Chief Minister or the party have no information about the matter.
The accusation of misuse of tax-payers' money came a year after AAP swept the assembly elections in Delhi. In May last year, the Congress alleged that the new government had spent Rs 100 crore for self-promotion within three months. Citing an RTI, the Congress said Mr Kejriwal could have used the money for buying "200 new DTC buses, 2,000 flats for the Extremely Weaker Section and 20 government schools with this money".
Later, a complaint was filed in this regard by senior Congress leader Ajay Maken to the special three-member committee appointed by the Information and Broadcasting ministry.
In its 55-page report last year, the CAG accused the Delhi government of using public money on television ads that showed a person waving a broom - the party's election symbol.
The advertisements spoke of "AAP ki Sarkar", publicizing the party not the government, the CAG had said.
The report also said the ads attributed a number of the state government's achievements to Chief Minister Kejriwal's personal efforts, an allegation that Delhi's opposition parties, the BJP and Congress, have repeatedly made.