A DAY after the Centre-appointed panel alleged that the AAP government used the exchequer’s funds to promote Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party through advertisements, and asked AAP to reimburse the state for the ads, the Congress Saturday said the spending amounted to “white collar corruption”. It demanded that the CBI register an FIR and probe the “siphoning of public funds for private purposes”.
The three-member B B Tandon panel had concluded that the Delhi government had violated some of the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court last year on regulating the content of government advertising.
Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, who was the complainant in the case, said the CBI should inquire if there is any “criminality” in the matter. Claiming that the government had spent Rs 284.67 crore on advertisements published outside Delhi, Maken said Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung should ensure recovery of the advertisement costs at commercial rates, which are thrice the cost of the Directorate of Advertising and Visual Publicity rate.
Quoting a CAG report, Maken said, “No new dispensaries were set up in 2015-16 by the government… CAG had said they couldn’t find files that supported the claim made in the TV ad. Not only did the AAP government spend money outside Delhi, they lied about development works in the capital that were advertised in other states.”
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Vijender Gupta asked the LG issue immediate orders to recover the money from AAP. He also requested the LG to fix responsibility of officials and take action against them. “A senior official should be assigned responsibility to examine the content of advertisements before they are released,” he added.