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HindustanTimes Wed,17 Sep 2014

HC notice to Haryana govt on pre-poll ad campaign

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, August 22, 2014
First Published: 09:10 IST(22/8/2014) | Last Updated: 09:13 IST(22/8/2014)
Taking up a petition questioning the release of public funds to the tune of Rs. 100 crore in the past three months by the Congress government in Haryana for massive advertising to project politicians and the government in the run-up to the assembly elections, the Punjab and Haryana high court has issued a notice of motion to the state government to file its reply by September 4.

The public interest litigation filed by Panchkula resident Lt Col Nand Kishore (retd) came up for hearing on Thursday before the division bench comprising acting chief justice Ashutosh Mohunta and j ustice HS Sidhu.

The petitioner has also made Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda a party in the case, apart from other state government authorities.

The petitioner has sought directions to restrain the state government from the release of funds from the state-cum-public exchequer for misuse for furtherance of political motives. It has been alleged by the petitioner that the state government was circulating unregulated paid advertisements via various modes of telecommunication, print and social media.

The petitioner also submitted that the budget of more than Rs. 113 crore was sanctioned for the intensive media campaign for the financial year 2014-15 out of public money.

He added that the state government had already spent more than the estimated cost of Rs. 65.62 lakh on 14 short advertisements, films and jingles submitted by one agency, Swastika Entertainment Private Limited. It was averred that 36 more advertisement films had been submitted for the state government’s approval by the same agency at an estimated cost of Rs. 1.28 crore.
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