L-G Appointment Of Aldermen In MCD

Delhi L-G Seeks Recovery Of Rs 97 Cr Spent By AAP On Political Ads

L-G Appointment Of Aldermen In MCD

Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has ordered a Rs 97-crore recovery from the Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government for publishing political advertisements of AAP as “government ads”.

The L-G in his Monday’s orders to the Chief Secretary had directed that all advertisements since September 2016, be also referred to the Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) for vetting and ascertaining if they were in consonance with the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court.
He has also asked for the money that has been spent on the so-called illegal committee to be recovered.

“He has additionally asked for Shabdarth – the public agency formed by the Kejriwal Government, currently manned by 35 individuals on a contractual/outsourced basis, out of the total sanctioned strength of 38 officials, to be manned by government servants, instead of private individuals. The finances of Shabdarth ever since it came into being shall also be audited,” the statement added.

LG Saxena has directed the Chief Secretary to implement the September 16, 2016 order of the Supreme Court-appointed Committee on CCRGA and the pursuant order of Directorate of Information & Publicity (DIP), GNCTD, directing the AAP to pay Rs 97,14,69,137 plus interest, to the state exchequer, for political advertisements that it got published or telecast in the garb of government advertisements, an official notification read.

“This, apart from being a gross case of misappropriation of Government funds for the benefit of a political party, also amounts to contempt of the Supreme and High Court,” it said further.

The top court in its order dated May 13, 2015, had postulated guidelines to regulate Government Advertising and eliminate unproductive expenditure while disposing of a Writ Petition with regards to “restraining the Union of India and all State Governments from using public funds on Government advertisements which are primarily intended to project individual functionaries of the Government or a Political Party.. and laying down of appropriate guidelines by this Court..”

“Pursuant to this order dated 13.05.2015 of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, a three Member Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) was constituted by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, vide order dated 06.04.2016, to regulate the content of Advertising and eliminate unproductive expenditure of Government Revenue,” the statement from LG office read adding that the Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) investigated the advertisements published by DIP, and issued orders for identifying specific advertisements published by GNCTD that were in “stark violation” of the guidelines set by the top court and directed the DIP, GNCTD to quantify the amounts spent by it in such advertisements, and recover the same from AAP.

The CCRGA order ascertained that an amount of over Rs 97 crores had been spent on the account of non-conforming advertisements violating the SC order.

“Of this, while payments amounting to Rs. 42,26,81,265/- (Rupees Forty-Two Crores Twenty Six Lakh Eighty One Thousand and Two Hundred Sixty Five Only) had already been released by DIP, Rs.54,87,87,872/- (Rupees Fifty Four Crores Eighty-Seven Lakh Eighty-Seven Thousand and Eight Hundred Seventy-Two only) for advertisements published, were still pending disbursal…,” it said.

The Directorate of Vigilance (DoV), inquiring into complaints regarding this, has brought out that not only did DIP not recover amounts worth Rs 42,26,81,265, it also proactively paid the pending amount of Rs 54,87,87,872, rather than getting the AAP to pay the same, as ordered.

“In 08 cases, payment of Rs. 20.53 Crores (Approx.) was made, falsely attributing it to Court / Arbitration orders. Further, Dy. CM, Manish Sisodia who is the Minister-in-Charge of the Department as well as the Minister of Finance, approved payment of another Rs. 27 Crores (Approx.), by entering into a fraudulent “compromise deed/settlement”, despite the fact that there was no litigation nor there were any directions from Supreme Court / High Court of Delhi,” it said.

Notably, despite 61 of the 90 suo Motu settlement deeds in DIP not being signed by the concerned officials, the payments were still released.

The statement further cited the case of advertisements in the bio-decomposer project as an example of wasteful expenditure in violation of the Supreme Court order and mentioned: While the entire cost for the bio-decomposer project was Rs 41.62 lakhs, the expenditure incurred for advertising it was Rs 16.94 Crore, which is “40 times higher” than the project cost.

“All this was done by AAP and its Ministers by resorting to grossly illegal moves which entailed putting in place a Committee of its own to look into violations of the Supreme Court guidelines. This in itself was illegal, since the Committee appointed by the GoI as per orders of the Supreme Court, was authorized and empowered with jurisdiction over all GoI advertisements as well as those issued by the Union Territories, that includes Delhi,” it said adding that the same was pointed out by former LG- who dismissed the Constitution of the said committee by Arvind Kejriwal led government and was reiterated and condoned by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). (ANI)

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