The Delhi government today moved the High Court challenging the trial court’s order for lodging of FIR against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for alleged misuse of government funds in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 Assembly polls.
Appearing before a bench of Chief Justice N Venkata Ramana and Justice Pradeep Nandrajog,Additional Solicitor General Siddharth Luthra mentioned the plea saying,”There is an urgency in the matter and let it be heard today itself”. He sought a direction that the plea challenging the trial court’s August 31 order be filed before the registry and listed for hearing today itself.
The bench allowed the senior law officer’s submissions and directed that the matter be listed at 2:15 PM today before the appropriate bench.
The special court had on August 31 directed the Delhi Police to register FIR against Dikshit on the complaint of BJP leader Vijender Gupta and a similar plea of RTI activist Vivek Garg alleging that Dikshit had misused government funds to the tune of Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 assembly polls.
They had sought registration of FIR against Dikshit and others for alleged criminal breach of trust (section 409 IPC),criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The complaints said in 2007-08,Dikshit was the Chief Minister of Delhi and also minister in-charge of information and publicity when the alleged misuse of funds took place.
Gupta had in his complaint said it was an election year and a number of government advertisements were published in the form of publications of advertisement in newspaper.
He had said “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 government machinery and public funds… burdened the state exchequer in carrying out campaign of Congress party for her own political gains,” it said.
The BJP leader had said he had filed a complaint before Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin,who had on May 22 indicted Dikshit for allegedly misusing government funds for carrying out an advertisement campaign with a ‘political purpose’ ahead of the last assembly polls. He had said the Lokayukta had also recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public 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 or any amount the President finds adequate.