Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Thursday, 12 January, received a notice from the Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) of the Delhi Government (DIP) over violation of Supreme Court-mandated guidelines in publishing/telecasting public advertisements.
As per a report by news agency PTI, the DIP in its notice has sought recovery of Rs 163.61 crore from the party within 10 days "failing which further necessary action as per law will be taken in this matter."
What Does The Notice Say?
The recovery notice issued by the DIP asks AAP to reimburse Rs 99.31 crore spent on advertisements till 31 March 2017. The remaining Rs 64.31 crore is the penalty on this amount.
If AAP fails to pay up, the party's office in Delhi and other properties could be sealed.
In 2016, the Delhi High Court had directed the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA) to look into the matter of complaints regarding AAP's political advertisements.
Copies of the advertisements in newspapers, television channels, and radio were part of the complaint filed by Congress leader Ajay Maken with the CCRGA.
How Has AAP Responded?
Responding to the DIP, AAP National Secretary Pankaj Gupta in his letter called the notice "arbitrary, perverse, and contrary to facts and provisions of law."
The party has also accused the Lieutenant Governor and the BJP of misusing officers in the Delhi Government to target Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
"The BJP is blatantly misusing Delhi officers to target the city government and ministers," Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia told reporters.
What is The BJP Saying?
Responding to the AAP's allegations, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Manoj Tiwari said that AAP's bank accounts should be seized and properties of its leaders should be attached.
"The BJP demands that AAP's bank account should be seized and the money should be recovered from the bank accounts of the AAP leaders who used the funds for their publicity," Tiwari said.
Why Is This Important?
The war of words between the BJP and the AAP over the notice comes in a series of spats between the two parties after AAP won the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections in December 2022.
The party dethroned the BJP from Delhi's civic body after the latter's 15 years in power.
(With inputs from PTI)