Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has come under CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government's social media campaign "Talk to AK".
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has come under CBI scanner for alleged irregularities in Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s social media campaign “Talk to AK”. The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Sisodia on the basis of a complaint filed by Vigilance Department of the Delhi government, according to a PTI report. The PE was registered on Wednesday.
‘Talk to AK’ campaign first came under the scanner after the then finance principal secretary, Dharmendra Kumar, objected to the process of hiring an advertising agency to promote the programme. The Vigilance Department had also flagged the issue.
According to the Vigilance Department complaint, the Delhi government had hired a consultant of a famous public relations company to promote “Talk to AK” campaign. A proposal of Rs 1.5 crore was prepared for the programme which aimed to encourage Delhi residents to directly interact with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
The programme attracted comparisons from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s monthly radio programme “Mann Ki Baat”. However, “Talk to AK” couldn’t be continued.
स्वागत है मोदी जी! आइए मैदान में। कल सुबह आपकी सीबीआई का अपने घर और दफ्तर में इंतज़ार करूँगा। देखते हैं कितना ज़ोर है आपके बाजुए कातिल में। https://t.co/EZmXUR9p9c
— Manish Sisodia (@msisodia) January 18, 2017
The Vigilance department complaint said Delhi government went ahead with the proposal, despite objections from the Principal Secretary and the consultant spent the money, creating a liability for the government. As of now, CBI has only registered a preliminary enquiry to probe the allegations and the alleged role of Sisodia and others.
Apart from Sisodia, CBI on Wednesday also registered a PE against Saumya Jain, daughter of Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain in connection with her appointment as in-charge of the Delhi government’s mohalla clinic project.
Both cases were referred to CBI by former Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung, based on the Shunglu Committee report. According to The Indian Express, Jung had referred seven cases of irregularities to the CBI. The investigating body has so far registered two FIRs and three PEs till now.
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Kejriwal’s first ‘Talk to AK’ programme was held on July 17. The Delhi government had also launched a dedicated website –www.talktoak.com– through which people could directly ask questions to him. When asked if this programme was on the lines of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s radio show ‘Mann Ki Baat’, Ashutosh Sengar, joint in-charge of AAP Maharashtra unit, had said ‘Talk to AK’ would be conducted as a conversation not monologue, as the objective of the exercise is to know, learn and understand from each other’s experiences and “not just preach about ones individual views”.
Even before the conclusion of the PE, AAP leaders have alleged CBI action is a part of PM Modi’s plan to halt the progress of AAP. Sisodia today tweeted, “Welcome Modiji. Take the challenge. I will wait for your CBI at my home and office tomorrow morning.” Delhi CM Kejriwal also attacked Modi for the CBI action.
“Wow Modiji! You take bribe and register cases against us. Steal and also be audacious about it,” Kejriwal tweeted. In another tweet, he said, “This is why I call you a coward. When you are losing Goa and Punjab, you have started the CBI game.”
(With agency inputs)