AAP directed to pay Rs164-cr public funds allegedly spent on political ads

The Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) has issued a notice to the national convenor of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Arvind Kejriwal, to pay up to Rs164 crore of government funds allegedly spent on party advertisements, within days, ANI news agency reported on Thursday.

The development comes days after Delhi Lieutenant General (LG) VK Saxena directed the chief secretary to recover Rs97 crore of public funds the AAP allegedly spent on political advertisements published in the guise of government advertisements during the financial year 2015-2016.
The report said there could be variations in the recovery order depending on the number of years as it was unclear if recovery orders will be issued for the financial years 2016-2017 to 2022-23 as well. 
If AAP fails to pay the money, legal action will be taken per LG’s orders, which could lead to attachment of properties owned by the party, the report added.
AAP has been accused of spending taxpayers’ money on political advertisements not just in Delhi, but in Punjab as well where the AAP-led government is reported to have paid for Facebook ads targeting audiences in Gujarat. 
AAP reacted to the development saying that the BJP government at the centre is acting unconstitutionally to destabilise its government, especially after it acquired national status
“The BJP has, over the last 7 years, been unconstitutionally exercising control over the city’s bureaucracy through the LG. Today, Alice Vaz, an IAS officer, is threatening chief minister Arvind Kejriwal to pay Rs163 crore under pressure from the BJP,” deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia alleged.
“Instead of ensuring quality work for the betterment of the citizens of Delhi, the BJP is using the city’s bureaucracy to target AAP government ministers. All this is being done by practising unconstitutional control over officers. The BJP is forcing bureaucrats to write letters against the chief minister through its control over them,” he added.
Kejriwal, Sisodia said, wanted officers to do work for citizens, but the BJP “wants them only to target ministers so that they don’t do their work.”
BJP MP from North East Delhi Manoj Tiwari accused the AAP of having looted Delhi of the funds meant for citizens’ welfare. “This is a scam. The advertisement scam of the AAP Delhi government. We demand that AAP’s bank account be immediately frozen. The party has abused government funds to shine its own face,” Tiwari alleged.
These include ads issued outside Delhi, those that mention the name of the AAP, publicising the views of the chief minister on incidents in other states and ads targeting the opposition, he added.