Delhi LG orders recovery of Rs 97 crore from AAP for violating SC guidelines on advertisement

Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on 29 March 2017 directed chief secretary MM Kutty to recover Rs 97 crore from Aam Aadmi Party (AAP). The AAP government will have to reimburse the money in 30 days. Baijal also ordered an inquiry into the spending on advertisements that projected Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his party. He also asked the chief secretary to fix responsibility.

The order was passed after a committee found that certain ads by the AAP government were a violation of the guidelines of the Supreme Court. The committee was appointed by the Supreme Court on a complaint by Congress leader Ajay Maken.

In 2015, the Supreme Court said that government ads cannot feature Chief Ministers or other political leaders. It exempted photos the Prime Minister, President and Chief Justice of India from its ban. In 2016, the court relaxed its rules to permit photos of union ministers and Chief Ministers.

The three-member committee was appointed to investigate the ads which were for self-glorification of the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal as well as out-of-state ads. The complaint alleged that these were a violation of the SC guidelines.

Besides, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) found that the AAP government spent Rs 29 crore in releasing advertisements outside Delhi which was beyond its responsibility. The report was submitted in early March 2017.

On the other hand, the committee as well as the CAG had slammed Aam Aadmi Party for misusing public funds. Reports suggest that the advertisement issued by the government for publicity of the party, if issued on non-DAVP rates, would have incurred a cost of Rs 854 crores to AAP.

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