The Delhi Lokayukta has indicted Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for misusing public money on running an advertisement campaign with a political motive ahead of the assembly elections in 2008.
Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin on Wednesday recommended President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit against the misuse of public funds. He urged the President to "advise" Delhi CM to reimburse a sum of R11 crore against half the cost of the advertisements in 2008 or any amount the President finds adequate.
The indictment came after an inquiry into a complaint by former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta. 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 2008 assembly elections.
"Dikshit has betrayed Delhi residents by spending the hard-earned taxpayer's money to serve personal interests. She must step down immediately," said Delhi BJP president Vijay Goel, in a statement.
Gupta had alleged 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," the Lokayukta observed.
An article authored by Uday Sahay, the then director of information and publicity department, had disclosed the strategy devised by the chief minister, and her department to make an elaborate campaign to overcome anti-incumbency and help her win the assembly election, the Lokayukta said in the order.
Dikshit was holding the 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 there for," the Lokayukta said.