Committee indicted govt for spending money on ads: AAP to challenge panel report in SC

AAP questioned the neutrality of the B B Tandon committee, set up by the Centre to probe the Delhi government’s expenditure on advertisements, and said it will challenge the panel’s order to reimburse the expenses in SC

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Updated: September 18, 2016 1:47 am
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THE AAM Aadmi Party (AAP) Saturday questioned the neutrality of the B B Tandon committee, set up by the Centre to probe the Delhi government’s expenditure on advertisements, and said it will challenge the panel’s order to reimburse the expenses in the Supreme Court.

The party pointed out that the committee was “not set up on the instructions of any court” but by the BJP-led Centre that has been at loggerheads with the AAP government. Senior party leaders alleged that the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, which was then under Arun Jaitley, had set up a committee that comprised “BJP workers”. AAP had locked horns with Jaitley over alleged irregularities in the Delhi and District Cricket Association earlier this year.

The three-member committee was headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon and comprised ad man Piyush Pandey and journalist Rajat Sharma. It was formed to address issues related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising.

“This is clearly a ploy of the BJP to target and defame the Delhi government. The committee should have included professionals of impeccable neutrality and those who would do their job without showing any bias. But two members of the panel are prominent BJP workers and beneficiaries of the party. So, how can one expect a fair probe?” said senior AAP leader Ashutosh.

“The courts have said that whenever any panel is set up, the neutrality of the members should be impeccable. Yet Jaitley’s ministry appointed members who are BJP workers. The Delhi government will approach the Supreme Court and explain its stand,” he added.

Health Minister Satyendar Jain told reporters, “The Delhi government has not issued advertisements to glorify its image. The government has not disobeyed any Supreme Court guidelines. Instead, the BJP-led municipal corporations are spending money, meant to be invested in creating awareness for tackling dengue and chikungunya, on self-glorification.”