Dikshit attacks Lokayukta, challenges jurisdiction

Sheila Dikshit met President in connection with the Lokayukta indicting her for alleged misuse of public funds on an ad campaign.

Updated: May 29, 2013, 22:59 PM IST

New Delhi: Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday met President Pranab Mukherjee in connection with the Lokayukta indicting her for alleged misuse of public funds on an ad campaign even as she accused the ombudsman of going beyond his jurisdiction in the case.

The Chief Minister said the Lokayukta did not have jurisdiction to take up the matter as it dealt with campaign for assembly elections and that the Election Commission was the right forum to examine such an issue.

"Whatever the Lokayukta has done in the latest case is outside the laid down rules and regulations as well as tradition. It was a case of 2008. Why he has taken it up now," Dikshit said.

"If a political party or politician flouts any rule (in the run up to the election), then it comes under the domain of the Election Commission. Not under Lokayukta. The Election Commission should examine it," the Chief Minister said in an interaction at the Indian Women`s Press Corps (IWPC) here.

In strong reaction to Dikshit`s accusation that he does not have a jurisdiction over the matter, Justice Manmohan Sarin told PTI from the US that in January 2010 he had in an order said that as per provision of the legislation, the Lokayukta has jurisdiction to probe the matter.

"The issue was raised during the inquiry and a order was issued in which it was said that the Lokayukta has jurisdiction to probe the matter. The Chief Minister never challenged the order of January 14, 2010. Then why she is raising the issue now," he said.

Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin had last week indicted Dikshit for allegedly misusing public funds on an advertisement campaign to get political mileage ahead of last assembly polls and recommended recovery of Rs 11 crore either from her or Congress.

The Lokayukta had recommended to President Pranab Mukherjee to administer "caution" to Dikshit for the alleged misuse of public funds for a series of advertisements carried out in print and outdoor media in 2007-08 with punchline "Delhi is changing".

Asked whether she will return Rs 11 crore as recommended by the Lokayukta, Dikshit chose not to reply.

The Chief Minister said she met the President and took up the matter with him. Dikshit said the President is yet to receive the Lokayukta recommendation.

The Lokayukta had initiated the inquiry into the matter following a complaint filed in 2009 by Vijender Gupta, former Delhi BJP President.