Ahead of the civic body polls in Delhi, the BJP has alleged that the Aam Aadmi Party government spent public funds on lunches at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence last year that cost a whopping Rs. 13,000 per person. The Aam Aadmi Party has denied these charges.
Demanding the government’s resignation and judicial probe, leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, alleged that the Delhi Tourism and Transport Development Corporation (DTTDC) had organised two lunch parties last year on February 11 and 12 for 50 and 30 persons respectively which cost over Rs. 11 lakh.
Union Minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal called the alleged expenditure “mind boggling”.
“The government is a custodian of public funds entrusted to it by tax payers in the form of exchequer. But Kejriwal and his party have been misusing these funds for the last two years for its political needs and purposes,” Mr Goyal said.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia denied the allegations saying he had never cleared the file for the expense which was sent to him.
“The so-called food bill of Rs. 13,000 was sent to me by officers for clearance a year back, but I never approved them. The files have been with the then LG Najeeb Jung’s office for the past six months. It seems the LG’s office has leaked it now under pressure from the BJP,” he alleged.
He said that the files were being leaked selectively to defame the AAP government ahead of the upcoming MCD polls.
“I dare them to release the file in which I have clearly made a note refusing to clear payment,” he added.
Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, alleged that the catering arrangements for the lunches at Mr Kejriwal’s residence were made by a leading five-star hotel.
The permissible limit under financial rules is Rs. 1,250 per person for hosting a lunch in non-five star hotels, he said.
“No codal formalities or financial rules were followed before placing the orders. Two bills were raised by DTTDC for a total amount of Rs. 11,04,357,” Mr Gupta said, showing the copies of the bills in a press conference.
He further said that bill for the lunch on February 11 was Rs. 6,23,605 and the cost per plate was Rs. 12,472 and price of same plate rose to Rs. 16,025 for the lunch organised very next day.
It is beyond understanding why the expenditure per plate rose by Rs. 3,553 more than 28.50 per centre overnight, Mr Gupta said.
“This is a criminal waste of government exchequer by the Kejriwal government. I urge the Lt Governor to order a high-level enquiry into violation of financial rules by the Kejriwal government,” he said.