The Delhi Lokayukta has given a clean chit to former Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit in a 2013 complaint that had accused her of granting “undue favours” to a firm in awarding contract for carrying out government advertisements. The Lokayukta order came on July 25, less than two weeks after the Congress named Dikshit as its CM face in Uttar Pradesh for the assembly elections due next year.
The complainant, Ashok Kumar, had moved the Lokayukta, seeking an inquiry to ascertain the loss to the exchequer. He had alleged the loss was Rs 73.28 lakh. He had also alleged that Dikshit, who also held the portfolio of Directorate of Information & Publicity (DIP) and Finance department, had favoured Ved Pahuja & Associates for publication and release of print and outdoor publicity for government departments during 2006-07 and 2007-08.
While discharging Dikshit, Lokayukta, Justice Reva Khetrapal, said, “… no useful purpose will be served by protracting the present proceedings, in which the complainant himself is not willing to come forward to press the allegations made by him…” Justice Khetrapal also observed, “… he has chosen not to file an affidavit by the way of evidence despite grant of about three years time to him for aforesaid purpose and, in which, in any event, the documents on record do not substantiate the case of the complainant.”
The complainant had alleged that “undue and and exceptional favours” had been given to Ved Pahuja & Associates by appointing them as consultants. During the proceedings, the Lokayukta had issued a showcause notice to Dikshit in February 2013.
Representing Dikshit, Advocate Mehmood Pracha and Advocate R H A Sikander had argued she had “no role to play” with regard to the money issued, and the departments concerned incurred the expenditure for advertisements from their budgets. They said Dikshit’s “only limited role” was to “approve the design/display” of advertisements shortlisted by departments.