New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Wednesday allowed a plea by the Aam Aadmi Party to withdraw a petition filed by the erstwhile Congress government against a trial court order for lodging a complaint against former chief minister Sheila Dikshit for allegedly misusing government funds.
Justice Sunil Gaur also allowed an application of the former chief minister seeking impleadment in the case.
The Dikshit government had moved the high court last year seeking quashing of two trial court orders that sought fresh status report in the case and ordered a first information report against her. The high court had suspended the registration of the FIR.
Arvind Kejriwal, hours before his resignation as Delhi chief minister Feb 14, moved the high court, saying the cabinet had decided it did not have the locus standi to defend Dikshit.
Now, after the high court order, instead of the government, Dikshit would defend herself in the case on whether the order of lodging FIR should be quashed or not.
A special court on Aug 31 directed Delhi Police to register an FIR against Dikshit on the complaint of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijender Gupta and a similar plea of Right to Information activist Vivek Garg, alleging that Dikshit had misused Rs.22.56 crore in government funds in an advertisement campaign prior to the 2008 polls.
They sought registration of FIR against Dikshit and others for alleged criminal breach of trust (Section 409 of the Indian Penal Code), criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
They said Dikshit was chief minister and also minister in-charge of information and publicity when the alleged fund misuse took place in 2007-08.
Gupta, in his complaint, said it was an election year and a number of government advertisements were published in newspapers.
The BJP leader said he filed a complaint before Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin, who indicted Dikshit for misusing government funds for carrying out an advertisement campaign with a “political purpose” ahead of the polls.
He said the Lokayukta recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds and to “advise” her to reimburse either by herself or through her party a sum of Rs.11 crore as half the cost of the advertisements in 2008 or any amount the president found adequate.