New Delhi, Sep 17 (IANS) The Congress on Saturday demanded that an FIR be lodged by the CBI against persons in the Aam Aadmi Party government responsible for siphoning off public funds for private purposes.
Addressing a press conference here, Congress Delhi Chief Ajay Maken said that the amount being used for advertising under the AAP government’s tenure in Delhi has increased 14.5 times as compared to previous governments.
The Congress also accused the Arvind Kejriwal government of misusing public funds for “political activities of the Aam Aadmi Party”.
Maken told reporters here: “During 2014, when Delhi was under President’s Rule, the total amount spent on advertising was Rs 14.5 crore. The very next year, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government, spent Rs 127 crore on advertisements and in the current fiscal it’s Rs 207.73 crore.”
The Congress leader accused the Delhi Government of ignoring the Supreme Court guidelines on advertising, and said the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) supports his allegations.
Earlier in the day, a panel appointed by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry ordered the Delhi government to “reimburse to the state exchequer” the entire amount that the Aam Aadmi Party had spent on its advertisements.
Its order said: “The Committee directs the Government of NCT of Delhi to get the entire expenditure so incurred on … category … reimbursed to the state exchequer from the Aam Aadmi Party.”
It was also critical of the advertisements put out by AAP outside Delhi.
Maken welcomed the order of the committee and said that while the Chief Minister says that he does not even have the power to buy a pen, the order of the committee proves that in the last 18 months, Chief Minister Kejriwal has “blown up more than Rs 100 crore” of government money for personal and political activities of the AAP.
“The order (of the committee) comes as a big relief for the tax payers of Delhi, as their hard earned money siphoned off by the Chief Minister will now be recovered from his party,” Maken said.
Citing the recently published CAG report, the Congress leader said the report has indicted the Delhi Government for spending 85 per cent of the total money allocated for publicity outside Delhi.
“How can you use funds meant for Delhi in other states,” he asked, adding that the Kejriwal regime had given a number of advertisements in other states trying to fulfil his political agenda.
The Congress leader also criticised the Chief Minister for being absent from Delhi when the city was facing an outbreak of various diseases.
“It’s a war-like situation as far as diseases in Delhi are concerned. We must take doctors from para military and other forces and should station them at various dispensaries and other health establishments to deal with the situation,” he said.
Maken also said that preventive steps should have been taken months ago.
“When we were in government, we would start preparing for monsoon-related problems in the month of February itself,” he said, adding that it was “unfortunate” on the government’s part to say that there has been no death due to chikungunya.