Govt junks allegations against Sisodia, Jain; AAP says CBI probe motivated
The CBI has on Wednesday registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and some unnamed state government officials to probe alleged irregularities in the “Talk to AK” campaign.delhi Updated: Jan 19, 2017 21:27 IST
The Delhi government on Thursday refuted allegations of irregularities based on which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) against Deputy CM Manish Sisodia and visited the office of directorate of information and publicity.
The government officials asserted that no consultant was hired by the AAP government especially for social media campaign “Talk to AK”. It also denied that R 1.5 crore was spent on the social media campaign.
A senior official said a public relations company was appointed by the government in June last year to publicise its works for a period of one year through an open tendering process. Officials said the ‘Talk to AK” was organised in July by the company hired, as per its given mandate and the government did not incur any extra cost.
“The government doesn’t have expertise in dealing with social media campaigns. The hired PR firm had assured the government that it will manage the campaign, ‘Talk to AK’. Also, payments to Facebook and Google are made through credit card for such campaigns. The government usually doesn’t do so,” a government spokesperson said.
On the allegations that the government went ahead with the campaign despite objections from the finance department, officials said it was a policy decision, which, the government is fully competent to make.
The government also claimed that the PR firm had spent R 98 lakh on the campaign. Moreover, it did not take any service charge.
“The government has paid R98 lakh to the company so far. The bill is pending and there has been no irregularity in the exercise,” the government spokesperson said.
The CBI on Wednesday also initiated a PE against the daughter of health minister Satyendar Jain, Saumya, who was appointed an adviser to the Delhi government for its mohalla clinic project aimed at boosting primary healthcare.
Jain rubbished the allegations saying his daughter was working with the mohalla clinic project on ‘voluntary’ basis and did not charge any remuneration for her service.
Meanwhile, AAP leaders said the CBI inquiry against Manish Sisodia and Satyendar Jain’s daughter is a result of a “rattled” BJP government and it was an ‘indicator’ that the AAP will sweep Punjab and Goa in the upcoming Assembly polls.
Addressing a press conference, AAP (Delhi) convener, Dilip Pandey, sought to link it to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement that he will “jail” Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia before April 15.
“After Arvind Kejriwal promised to jail Majithia, even we were wondering why Modiji was silent. But now, they have let loose the CBI. Modiji’s cowardly act has established, in a way far better than any opinion poll, that AAP will win Punjab as well as Goa,” he said.