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AAP govt spent Rs11 lakh on lunches at Kejriwal residence, claims BJP

LiveMint logoLiveMint 08-04-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Ahead of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday alleged the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government had squandered public funds on lunches at chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s residence last year that cost a whopping Rs13,000 per person, a charge denied by the ruling party.

Demanding the government’s resignation, 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 11 and 12 February for 50 and 30 persons respectively which cost over Rs11 lakh.

Union minister and senior BJP leader Piyush Goyal termed 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,” 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 Kejriwal’s residence were made by a leading five-star hotel.

The permissible limit under financial rules is Rs1,250 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,” Gupta said, showing the copies of the bills in a press conference.

He added that bill for the lunch on 11 February was Rs6,23,605 and the cost per plate was Rs12,472 and price of same plate rose to Rs16,025 for the lunch organised very next day. It is beyond understanding why the expenditure per plate rose by Rs3,553 more than 28.50 per centre overnight, 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,” Gupta said.

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