HC frames issues on Vijender Gupta's plea against Arvind Kejriwal

The Delhi High Court on Friday framed issues to be decided by it on a poll petition of former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta seeking to declare election of Arvind Kejriwal as void on the ground that he exceeded the poll expense limit of Rs 14 lakh.

PTI| Last Updated: Sep 26, 2014, 20:55 PM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday framed issues to be decided by it on a poll petition of former Delhi BJP president Vijender Gupta seeking to declare election of Arvind Kejriwal as void on the ground that he exceeded the poll expense limit of Rs 14 lakh.

Justice Vipin Sanghi said the court will decide whether the expenses incurred by Kejriwal in the 2013 assembly elections here were in contravention of the Representation of People Act and if he indulged in corrupt practices within the meaning of the Act.

The framing of issues in a civil suit is similar to framing of charges in a criminal case and after this, a formal trial/proceedings takes place in the matter.

The case has been fixed on November 10 before a court of Joint Registrar where the BJP leader and the former Delhi Chief Minister will record evidence in support of their claim/counter-claim.

The BJP leader has said in his plea that Kejriwal had indulged in corrupt practices and incurred an expenditure of nearly Rs 94.80 lakh during campaigning by organising a rock show "Jeet Ki Gunj, Vote for Change" on November 23, 2013 at Jantar Mantar after filing his poll nomination.

"...The total actual expenses incurred by the Aam Admi Party on account of the concert is Rs 94.80 lakh which has been highly underestimated by the respondent (Kejriwal) and the Aam Admi Party as Rs 14.72 lakh," the petition has said.

It has accused the AAP leader of having violated the model code of conduct issued by the Election Commission of India, the provisions of the RP Act and also the principles of the Constitution regarding free and fair elections.

The petition has said many prominent singers and Bollywood personalities had performed at the event and all of them charged Rs 3 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, which was allegedly paid by Kejriwal.

The petition has also said the concert was advertised through newspapers, TV and radio to attract voters. Elaborate arrangements were put in place and the programme was attended by more than 20,000 people and the total cost of the show/ concert will not come to less than Rs one crore.

Gupta has said "the show was addressed and attended by Kejriwal and three other AAP candidates namely Somnath Bharti from Malviya Nagar constituency, Surinder Singh from Delhi Cantt constituency and Manish Sisodia from Patparganj who was also a star campaigner. In that event, Rs 33 lakh has to be added in the expenses account" of Kejriwal.

The petition has said that on Gupta's complaint, an inquiry was initiated by the Election Commission and the District Expenditure Monitoring Committee "erroneously apportioned" an expenditure of Rs 13.05 lakh in the account of Kejriwal, Bharti and Surinder Singh.

They said that the assessment arrived at by the poll panel treating the concert as "good cause" was "erroneous" and no independent information was used to evaluate the exact amount.

Kejriwal had secured 44,269 votes while Sheila Dikshit and Vijender Kumar secured only 18,405 and 17,952 votes respectively, from New Delhi constituency.