Recover Rs 97 crore from AAP in 30 days for ads: LG tells CS
In a setback to the Kejriwal dispensation, Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal has directed that Rs 97 crore be recovered from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that was allegedly "splurged" by the city government on advertisements in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.
Baijal also ordered an inquiry into the spending on advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party and asked the chief secretary to fix responsibility.
The AAP will have to reimburse the money within a month.
The move comes months after a Centre-appointed three-member committee indicted the AAP government for "misusing" exchequer money on advertisements.
Sources said that out of Rs 97 crore incurred on advertisements, government has so far paid Rs 42 crore to ad agencies and the LG has directed Chief Secretary M M Kutty to get the amount reimbursed from the AAP.
The rest Rs 55 crore, which is yet to be paid by the Kejriwal government, would be given by Aam Aadmi Party to the ad agencies, according to the the LG's directions.
Last year, the three-member committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, had been constituted by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry on directions of the Supreme Court to address issues related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising.
"The Lieutenant Governor has now directed the Chief Secretary to get the amount of Rs 97 crore from Aam Aadmi Party," a source said.
In a report earlier this month, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had also found that the Aam Aadmi Party government spent Rs 29 crore in releasing advertisements outside Delhi which was "beyond" its responsibility.
It had also said that advertisements worth Rs 24 crore released by it were in violation of financial propriety and Supreme Court regulations, stated the CAG report tabled in the Delhi Assembly on March 10.
The AAP-led Delhi government had rejected the report.