A CBI TEAM visited the official residence of Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to seek clarifications in relation to a preliminary enquiry into alleged irregularities in the AAP government’s ‘Talk to AK Campaign’.
Both AAP and its government alleged that the CBI was acting on behalf of the BJP-led Centre to “further their political agenda”. The CBI, however, clarified that no searches or raids were conducted and that as per rules, no raids can be conducted under a PE.
The CBI had registered the PE in January following a complaint filed by the Vigilance Department of the Delhi government. The complaint noted that the Delhi government had hired Perfect Relations, a PR company, for the campaign featuring Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and that a proposal of Rs 1.5 crore was prepared for this purpose.
It alleged that the government went ahead with the proposal, in spite of objections raised by Dharmendra Sharma, the then principal secretary (finance), and thus created a financial liability for the administration.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh said that instead of “daily harassment” of the Delhi government, the Centre should simply suspend it. “Today’s raid signals the resolve of the Centre to not let the AAP government work. The BJP wants to obliterate the opposition. The intention is to take revenge through relentless harassment,” he alleged.
Singh said that ‘Talk to AK’ was held using the services of a PR company, which did not charge the government. He said no tender had been floated for the campaign — a social media interaction with the public – as platforms such as FB, YouTube and Google had no competition.
Perfect Relations was brought on board by the AAP government in June 2016 as media consultant, four months after the tenders were floated. At the time of AAP’s “Talk to AK campaign”, officials said the company was given a “work order”.
“Since the Delhi government doesn’t have a credit card, we needed them to act as intermediaries to pay the social media companies,” said a party spokesperson.
The work order specified that “no fee shall be payable” to Perfect Relations “for undertaking the assignment except what has been provided for in its agreement” with the government, the spokesperson said.
“The entire matter is a sham. No money was exchanged in the entire issue. So on what basis is the CBI investigating the claim?” said the spokesperson.