Delhi LG Saxena has no such authority: AAP on direction to 'pay Rs 97 crore for political ads'
The AAP leader Saurabh Bharadwaj said that the Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena doesn't have the authority to issue orders directing the Chief Secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the party over 'political advertisements'.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that the Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena doesn't have the authority to issue orders directing the Chief Secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the party over 'political advertisements' on Tuesday, December 20, 2022.
While addressing the media, AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj called the LG's orders a 'new love letter.
According to Bharadwaj, "The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is flustered that we have become a national party and have ousted it in the MCD. LG Saheb is acting by the BJP's orders, troubling the people of Delhi. The more worried Delhi's people are, the happier the BJP gets." Additionally, he said that the LG's directions were unconstitutional in the eyes of the law.
The AAP leader explained, "The Delhi LG has no such authority. He cannot give such orders. These will not stand up to the law. Other state governments run advertisements as well. Advertisements from the BJP's various state governments have been published here." He asked, "We want to ask when will the Rs 22,000 crore spent on the advertisements be recovered from them? We will also give Rs 97 crore when the money is recovered."
Earlier the day, the Delhi LG Saxena directed the Chief Secretary to recover Rs 97 crore from the AAP for the political ads it published in teh guise of government ads, as per official sources.
The Delhi government's Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP), acting on a 2016 directive from a Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, had notified that Rs 97.14 crore (Rs 97,14,69,137) had been spent or booked on account of 'non-conforming advertisements', they said.
"Of this, the DIP already released payments totalling over Rs 42.26 crore, Rs 54.87 crore for advertisements published remained pending disbursement," the source added.
They added, acting on the directive, the DIP directed the AAP in 2017 to immediately pay over Rs 42.26 crore to the state exchequer and directly pay the pending amount of Rs 54.87 crore to the advertising agencies or publications concerned within 30 days.
"However, despite the lapse of five years and eight months, the AAP has failed to comply with the DIP order. This is serious because, despite a specific order, the party has not deposited public funds in the state exchequer. Such defiance of a legitimate order by a registered political party is not only contemptuous of the judiciary but also does not augur well for the health of good governance," the source continued.
The Supreme Court proposed guidelines in 2015 to regulate government advertising and eliminate wasteful spending. The Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA), which has three members, was established by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in 2016.
The CCRGA investigated DIP advertisements and issued an order in September 2016, identifying those in 'clear violation of the guidelines' established by the Supreme Court.
(With inputs from PTI)