In an order, VK Saxena said the ads ‘violated’ Supreme Court guidelines.
VK Saxena, the lieutenant governor of Delhi, has asked the Aam Aadmi Party to pay an amount of Rs 97 crore that was allegedly spent on “non-conforming advertisements”. Saxena implied the party used government ads to promote the AAP instead.
According to an order issued by Saxena, these payments “were on account of advertisements published in violation” of Supreme Court guidelines on the use of public funds for government ads.
In 2016, the document said, the I&B ministry constituted a three-member committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising which “investigated” ads published by Delhi’s Directorate of Information and Publicity.
The committee found that ads published by the Delhi government “were in variance with the guidelines” and directed the DIP to “quantify the amount” and “recover the same from the Aam Aadmi Party”. The amount was quantified to Rs 97,14,69,137.
Alleging that the party did not “comply” even after five years, Saxena now ordered the department secretary to “take all necessary action to recover Rs 97,14,69,137, with penal interest…within 15 days from Aam Aadmi Party”. Otherwise, “all consequential legal action including attachments etc of the properties of the party shall be taken in time bound manner.”
Saxena also directed the chief secretary to simultaneously place the “full facts of the matter” before the Election Commission.
The document also alleged the AAP government’s spending on ads “has increased from Rs 15 crore to Rs 568 crore, a jump of 3,787% (approx) in 9 years”. Saxena said such “unmindful expenditure militates against the constitutional goals set by our founding fathers”.
Not far from Delhi, the Uttar Pradesh government under Yogi Adityanath spent Rs 160 crore on TV ads in just one year. And in the pandemic year, the Adityanath government spent only four percent of its ad money on Covid awareness campaigns. Read our reports in Newslaundry for more.
This is a developing story.
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