The Delhi L-G orders AAP to pay Rs 97 crore for government-funded political advertisements, which the party describes as “stupidity.”
VK Saxena, the L-G of Delhi, has directed the chief secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the AAP for publishing political advertisements as government advertisements. According to AAP leader Saurabh Bhardwaj, the L-G does not have such authority to issue orders.
VK Saxena, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, directed the chief secretary on Tuesday to recover Rs 97 crore from the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) for political advertisements published as government advertisements.
L-G Saxena claimed that the ruling party violated Supreme Court orders, the Delhi High Court order of 2016, and the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) order of 2016.
Identifying specific advertisements published by the government that were in “stark violation of guidelines,” the CCRGA directed the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) in 2016 to quantify the amounts spent on such advertisements and recover the same from the ruling AAP, they added.
The DIP quantified that Rs 97,14,69,137 was invested or tried to book on account of “non-conforming advertisements”.
“Of this, while the DIP had already released over Rs 42.26 crore in payments, Rs 54.87 crore for published advertisements remained pending disbursement,” a source said.
The DIP directed the AAP in 2017 to immediately pay over Rs 42.26 crore to the state exchequer and to pay the pending amount of Rs 54.87 crore to the advertising agencies or publications concerned within 30 days.
However, even after more than 5 years, the AAP has not complied with the DIP’s order.
The L-G has also requested an audit of the finances of Shabdarth, a public agency established by the Kejriwal administration. Shabdarth is currently staffed on a contractual or outsourced basis by 35 people, out of a total sanctioned strength of 38 officials. Instead of private individuals, the agency was supposed to be staffed by government employees.
The L-G has now directed that Shabdarth be staffed by government officials rather than contractual and outsourced employees.
‘There is no power in L-G.’
“The L-G has no power to issue such orders,” AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said in response to the L-orders. G’s
“The BJP is saying why the advertisements of the Delhi government are being published outside Delhi Newspapers of the last one month have been brought out. “There is no BJP state whose advertisement has not been published in Delhi,” Bhardwaj said.
“The BJP’s L-G is working under the guise of fake headlines,” he added. He is now giving the argument of a BJP spokesperson in his letter”.
“The L-G officer’s letter is full of stupidity. His order has no legal standing. “We disregarded that order,” Bhardwaj explained.