The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notices to the central government, the Lieutenant Governor, and the Delhi government on the Aam Aadmi Party’s plea against the order to recover the advertisement cost of Rs 97 crore from it, PTI reported. Earlier in March, Delhi’s LG Anil Baijal had asked the Delhi government’s chief secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the AAP within 30 days time. There had been reports at the time claiming that the party had allegedly spent Rs 97 crore of government money on advertisements and had violated the guidelines issued by the Supreme Court. Such an order by the LG had come just months after a Centre-appointed committee had indicted the Kejriwal government on misusing the public exchequer’s money on advertisement. The apex court had been set up following an SC order which had sought to address the problem of regulation of content in government advertising.
PTI had reported citing sources that of the Rs 97 crore spent on advertisements, the AAP govt had paid Rs 43 crore to the ad agencies. In an earlier report, the CAG had found that the Delhi government had spent Rs 29 crore in advertisements outside Delhi. Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had however rejected the reports. According to reports by the Indian Express, the committee had asked the Kejriwal government to assess the incurred expenditure and have it reimbursed from the concerned party.
A letter by the committee had said, “Therefore, as advised by the law department and secretary (DIP), a notice should immediately be issued to the political party concerned for recovery of the amount already paid. The party concerned may also be advised to pay directly to the agencies concerned in respect of remaining advertisements whose payments have not been released so far by the government. The notice so issued should give full details of all advertisements and fix a timeline of 30 days from date of issue to reimburse the requisite amount to the government exchequer.”