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The Delhi High Court today issued notices to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Law Minister Somnath Bharti on separate pleas of two Bharatiya Janata Party leaders seeking to declare their election as void on the ground that they exceeded the poll expense limit of Rs 14 lakh each.
A bench of justice Vipin Sanghi sought the response from Arvind Kejriwal on the election petition of former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta, who had unsuccessfully fought the Assembly election against Arvind Kejriwal from New Delhi constituency.
Another bench of justice G S Sistani issued notice to the law minister on the plea of Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Delhi mayor Arti Mehra, who alleged that Somnath Bharti did not comply with the provisions of the Representation of People Act (RP Act) and had spent more than Rs 14 lakh during his election campaign in the Malviya Nagar Assembly seat.
The courts, which did not issue notice to the Election Commission, asked the Aam Aadmi Party leaders to file their responses within four weeks and fixed the matters for hearing on February 25.
During the hearing, Satyapal Jain and Rajeev Ranjan Raj, appearing for BJP leaders, cited various related provisions of the RPAct to stress on the point that the AAP leaders did not give correct and separate accounts of expenses incurred by them during the election campaign.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders have said in their petition that Arvind Kejriwal and Somnath Bharti had indulged in corrupt practices and incurred huge expenditure of nearly Rs 94.80 lakh during campaigning by organising a rock show "Jeet Ki Gunj, Vote for Change" on November 23, 2013 at Jantar Mantar, after filing their poll nomination.
"...The total actual expenses incurred by the Aam Admi Party on the account of concert is Rs 94.80 lakh which has been highly underestimated by the respondent (Arvind Kejriwal) and the Aam Admi Party as Rs. 14.72 lakh," the petitions said.
Similar allegations have been made by Mehra against Somnath Bharti.
"Arvind Kejriwal has influenced/solicited the voters by such a massive concert, thereby affecting the outcome of the election," the petitions allege.
It accused both