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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Delhi Lokayukta indicts Sheila for ‘misuse’ of public money

PTI  New Delhi, May 22, 2013
First Published: 20:55 IST(22/5/2013) | Last Updated: 20:57 IST(22/5/2013)

Delhi Lokayukta on Wednesday indicted chief minister Sheila Dikshit for allegedly misusing government funds for carrying out an advertisement campaign with a "political purpose" ahead of assembly elections in 2008.

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Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds.

He also recommended to the President to "advise" Dikshit to reimburse either herself or through her party a sum of Rs. 11 crore as half the cost of the advertisements in 2008 or any amount the President finds adequate.

The Lokayukta had initiated an inquiry into the matter following a complaint filed by Vijender Gupta, former Delhi BJP President.

In his complaint, Gupta had charged Dikshit with abusing her position as chief minister by carrying out an advertisement campaign with a view to gaining political mileage in the assembly election in 2008.

He had alleged the government machinery, particularly the Department of Information and Publicity, was instructed to make an elaborate plan to project the chief minister in a positive light to gain advantage during election and overcome the anti-incumbency factor.

"The pattern of advertisements published by the government of Delhi and the Congress Party clearly establishes a proximate and inextricable nexus between the two," said the Lokayukta.

An article authored by Uday Sahay, the then Director of Information and Publicity Department, had disclosed the strategy devised by chief minister, and her department to make an elaborate campaign to overcome the anti-incumbency factor for her and to project the chief minister, and help her win the election in 2008, the Lokayukta said in the order.

The chief minister was holding charge of the Department of Information and Publicity at that time.

"Besides being chief minister and minister in charge of information and publicity, the respondent kept a strict control over all the advertisements issued by various departments/ministries of government of Delhi and was thus directly responsible therefor," the Lokayukta said.

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