New Delhi, Mar 30: Anil Baijal, Lt. Governor of Delhi today directed the Chief Secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) that was allegedly spent on advertisements in violation of the Supreme Court guidelines.
The LG also ordered a probe into the spending on advertisements projecting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party directing the Chief Secretary to fix the responsibility for the same.
The amount is to be recovered within a month.
The three-member committee highlighted the misuse of exchequer money by the AAP government on advertisement following which the LG had ordered the Chief Secretary to recover the amount.
According to PTI, out of Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, the government has paid Rs 42 crore to add agencies and the LG directed the 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 AAP to the ad agencies, according to the LG’s directions.
Last year, the three-member committee, headed by former Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, was constituted by the I & B ministry on directions of the Supreme Court to address issues related to Content Regulation in Government Advertising.
Earlier, on March 10, the CAG had put the AAP government in the dock over advertising its first-year “achievements” almost entirely outside the national capital and also putting out “non-verifiable” contents.
At that time, Kejriwal had lashed out at Shashi Kant Sharma, the Comptroller and Auditor General and had accused him of doing “politics” and had also gone on to suggest that the top auditor might have done it “out of compulsion” to save his job, as per PTI.
In the reports, which were tabled in the Delhi Assembly, the CAG had pointed out that in its first year, the AAP government had spent Rs 29 crore on advertisements outside Delhi, as part of one particular campaign, which was “beyond” its responsibility.
The report had also observed that advertisements worth Rs 24 crore were in violation of financial propriety and SC regulations.
The Kejriwal government had allotted a whopping Rs 522 crore for advertisement and publicity in the 2015-16 budget, which was later revised to Rs 134 crore. In the 2017-18 Budget, Rs 198 crore has been set aside for publicity while 2016-17 budgetary allocation under the head was Rs 207 crore, which has been revised to Rs 181 crore.