The Delhi High Court on Wednesday stayed till September 19 trial court’s order for registration of FIR against Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit for alleged misuse of government funds in 2008 assembly polls.
Justice Sunil Gaur, who had reserved the order on Tuesday on the Delhi Government’s plea seeking quashing of trial court August 31 order, deferred the matter till September 19, saying “till then status quo as of today in respect of FIR in question be maintained”.
In its order, the court said the Lokayukta’s May 22, 2013, report is under consideration of President of India, therefore, the question of investigation can be addressed after hearing the arguments at length from both the parties.
The high court had on Tuesday asked BJP leader Vijender Gupta and Delhi Police Commissioner to respond by September 19 to the state government’s plea against the trial court’s order for lodging FIR against Ms. Dikshit and other officers for alleged misuse of public funds in an advertisement campaign ahead of 2008 assembly polls.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Siddharth Luthra, appearing for Delhi government, had contended that Mr. Gupta, while filing the complaint against Ms. Dikshit and seeking registration of FIR, has relied only on Lokayukta report otherwise there is no material against her and the officers directly.
Opposing the plea, Mr. Gupta’s counsel had questioned the locus standi of the government, saying the Chief Minister was not here and how the State was affected by the trial court’s order.
The special court had on August 31 directed the Delhi Police to register an FIR against Ms. Dikshit on the complaint of Mr. Gupta alleging Ms. Dikshit had misused government funds to the tune of Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 assembly polls.
Mr. Gupta had sought registration of FIR against Ms. Dikshit and others for alleged criminal breach of trust (section 409 IPC), criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The complaint said that in 2007-08, Ms. Dikshit was the Chief Minister of Delhi and also minister in-charge of information and publicity when the alleged misuse of funds took place.
He had said, “A large number of hoardings showing pictures of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dikshit all over Delhi Metro, bus shelters and also in form of radio jingles, TV spots etc. by misusing government machinery and public funds... burdened the state exchequer in carrying out campaign of Congress party for her own political gains.”
The BJP leader had said he had filed a complaint before Delhi Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin, who had on May 22 indicted Ms. Dikshit for allegedly misusing government funds for carrying out an advertisement campaign with a ‘political purpose’ ahead of the last assembly polls.
He had said the Lokayukta had also recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to caution Ms. Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds and to ‘advise’ her to reimburse either herself or through her party Rs 11 crore as half the cost of the advertisements in 2008 or any amount the President finds adequate.