Games ads in poll code soup,EC says get money from officers who issued

Taking serious note of full-page advertisements on the Commonwealth Games appearing in newspapers on March 6 and 7...

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: March 8, 2009 3:04 am

Taking serious note of full-page advertisements on the Commonwealth Games appearing in newspapers on March 6 and 7,the Election Commission (EC) has asked the Delhi government to recover the cost from personal accounts of officers who released the advertisements.

The EC also wrote to the Cabinet Secretary,Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports,and the Chief Secretary of Delhi Government,seeking names of officers who authorised the release of the advertisements. “The total cost of the advertisements should be recovered from personal accounts of officers and persons responsible for the release of the advertisements,” the EC said in its letter. The EC demanded clarifications on three points: first,name and address of the organisation that released the advertisements,names of officials who authorised the release of the advertisements and,third,the total expenditure of publishing these advertisements.

The letter said,“This is a clear violation of the model code of conduct which prohibits publication of the achievements of the governments at the cost of the public exchequer.” The Commission has also sought a compliance report by Monday. While the opposition parties in Delhi had protested the release of the advertisements,the EC took suo motu notice of them.

The advertisements discussed the achievements of the Central government and the Delhi government “regarding the development works carried out in the Capital like,24 flyovers,75 aerobridge airport,1285 km of better roads,5,000 low floor buses etc”.

Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said the advertisement was issued by the Commonwealth Games committee ahead of the Queen’s Baton Relay to be held on Sunday evening. “We will send a clarification to the Election Commission,saying it was not a Delhi government advertisement,” he said.

Meanwhile,there were reports that a compliant has been filed with the Election Commission,seeking a stay on the appointment of former Congress MLA Tajdar Babbar as vice-chairperson of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation by a person “claiming” to be from the BJP. But the party said that no such complaint had been filed on its behalf.

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