The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Law Minister Somnath Bharti on pleas seeking cancellation of their election for exceeding the expenditure limit in last December’s assembly polls.
The court sought their response by February 25 on petitions by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Vijender Gupta and Arti Mehra alleging that Kejriwal and Bharti spent beyond the statutory limit of Rs.14 lakh. Justice Vipin Sanghi issued notice to Kejriwal on Gupta’s plea, while Justice G.S. Sistani issued notice to Bharti on Mehra’s plea.
As per the Election Commission, every candidate can spend Rs.14 lakh on an assembly election, said Gupta, former chief of the Delhi BJP. Mehra is former city mayor.
Gupta said both the leaders indulged in “corrupt practices” and incurred huge expenditure of nearly Rs.94.80 lakh during the campaign by organising a rock show “Jeet Ki Gunj, Vote for Change” Nov 23, 2013 at Jantar Mantar after filing their nomination papers.
Many singers and Bollywood personalities performed at the event and all of them charged Rs.3-10 lakh, which was paid by Kejriwal, Gupta alleged. Gupta said the expenditure was “highly underestimated by the respondent (Kejriwal) and the Aam Aadmi Party as Rs. 14.72 lakh”.
Filing the petitions through advocate Ajay Digpaul, Gupta moved court against Kejriwal, his rival from the New Delhi constituency, while Mehra moved court against Bharti, who defeated her in the Malviya Nagar constituency. The plea said Kejriwal influenced voters by such a massive concert, thereby affecting the outcome of the election.
“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,” said the plea.
The BJP leaders accused Kejriwal and Bharti of having violated the Model Code of Conduct issued by the Election Commission, the provisions of the Representation of People Act and also the principles of the constitution on free and fair elections.