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Former CM Sheila Dikshit moves HC to oppose plea of AAP govt in graft case

Justice V P Vaish is likely to hear the pleas of the state government and Dikshit tomorrow.

Dikshit, in her plea, said "the said act of the appellant/petitioner/ state is unconstitutional. (PTI) Dikshit, in her plea, said “the said act of the appellant/petitioner/ state is unconstitutional. (PTI)

Former Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Tuesday moved the Delhi High Court to oppose the plea of the then AAP government to withdraw the appeal filed by her dispensation against a lower court order to register an FIR against her in a corruption case.

“Permit applicant Sheila Dikshit to object to the withdrawal application (filed by Aam Aadmi Party government) and permit Dikshit to contest the present petition,” the plea, which is likely to be taken up tomorrow, said.

The Arvind Kejriwal government had on February 14 (when it resigned) moved the court seeking to take back the appeal, filed by the previous Congress government, against the decision of a lower court, saying Dikshit will have to defend herself as she is no more the Chief Minister and the government lacked the “locus standi” to fight for her.

Opposing the move, Dikshit, in her plea, said “the said act of the appellant/petitioner/ state is unconstitutional in as much as there has been no change in the facts and circumstances of the present case which has necessitated the state to file withdrawal application.”

Seeking the impleadment of Dikshit as a party, the plea, filed through lawyer Mehmood Pracha, said “the act of the state…would adversely affect the right of Sheila Dikshit as one of the affected parties.”

Justice V P Vaish is likely to hear the pleas of the state government and Dikshit tomorrow.

The AAP government, which resigned after the controversy over passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill, had highlighted its stand against corruption and said the cabinet’s decision to take back the appeal was approved by the Lt Governor.

The previous Congress government had gone to the high court in September last year against a lower court order to register an FIR against Dikshit on a complaint of BJP leader Vijender Gupta alleging her administration misused public funds to the tune Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign ahead of 2008 assembly polls. The order was stayed by the high court.

The then AAP government had in its plea said “the appeal was filed by the petitioner, i.e the ‘state’ on the premise that it had the locus (standi) to defend Dikshit who was the then chief minister of Delhi.

“In view of changed circumstances and formation of new government, the then chief minister ceases to hold the post and, therefore, the state i.e government of National Capital Territory of Delhi no longer has the locus standi to continue the prosecution of the present petition on her behalf.”

The government has taken a decision “not to defend any of its functionaries” involved in corruption case, the plea had said.

A special judge had on August 31, last year, ordered registration of FIR against Dikshit and others for offences including criminal breach of trust (section 409 IPC), criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The order had come on separate complaints filed by BJP leader Vijender Gupta and RTI activist Vivek Garg against Dikshit.

Both of them had in their complaints alleged Dikshit misused government funds to the tune of Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 assembly polls.

The complaints said that in 2007-08, Dikshit was also minister in-charge of information and publicity when the alleged misuse of funds had taken place.

“It was an election year. A number of government advertisements were published in the form of publications of advertisement in newspaper.

“A large number of hoardings showing pictures of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit all over Delhi Metro, bus shelters and also in form of radio jingles, TV spots etc. by misusing the government machinery and public funds … burdened the state exchequer in carrying out campaign of Congress party for her own political gains,” one of the complaints had said.

The BJP leader had said he had filed a complaint before Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin who had recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit for alleged misuse of funds and to ‘advise’ her to reimburse either herself or through her party a sum of Rs 11 crore as half the cost of the advertisements in 2008.

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