The Lokayukta and the Delhi assembly have been in loggerheads over notices served to the AAP MLAs over the declaration of their assets. On Monday, almost 50 Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) MLAs in Delhi, refused to furnish details of their assets and liabilities as directed by Delhi Lokayukta Reva Khetarpal. The MLAs have filed affidavits stating that demanding such declarations are not within the Lokayukta’s jurisdiction as there is no such law or legal provisions that prescribe the same.
While the Delhi social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam and transport minister Kailash Gahlot are amongst those who have replied to the notice, AAP supremo and Delhi CM, Arvind Kejriwal and the Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia, who have also been served the notice by the Lokayukta’s office, are yet to respond.
However, three MLAs including BJP’s Vijender Gupta and Manjinder Singh Sirsa and rebel AAP legislator Kapil Mishra furnished details of assets and liabilities to the Lokayukta.
The remaining MLAs have been given time till February 27 to submit their replies.
While the AAP spokesperson, Saurabh Bhardwaj asserted that “there is no law that MLAs need to file details of their assets and liabilities to the Lokayukta”, Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had last week written to Justice (retd) Lokayukta Reva Khetrapal, requesting her to recall the notices served to the AAP MLAs, saying the allegations are “baseless and politically motivated”.
He today, urged her to move the court against BJP member Vivek Garg, who has filed a complaint with the authorities over the alleged non-declaration of assets and liabilities in the House by AAP MLAs.
Based on a complaint by an advocate and RTI activist Vivek Garg, Lokyukta Reva Khetrapal had earlier this month issued notices to Delhi MLAs seeking replies regarding the submission of details of their assets and liabilities for the last three financial years.
Garg had alleged that “AAP MLAs had not filed details of their assets from 2015 to 2018 and were concealing them in a conspiracy to obtain wrongful gains”.
The AAP MLAs in their replies, however, stated that the complaint filed by advocate Vivek Garg, which prompted the notice “is devoid of any merit and the same be dismissed with exemplary cost”. They furthered that under Section 9(2) of the Lokayukta Act, 1995, the petitioner should be penalised and sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment for false and baseless complaints.
Earlier this month the Lokayukta’s request to be exempted from the installation of GPS on official cars had also been turned down by the Delhi Government.