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EDMC accuses Delhi government of not releasing funds

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New Delhi: The AAP government was accused on Monday by the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) before the Delhi High Court for not releasing funds were due as per the Delhi Finance Commission which was Rs 627.93 crore in the last four years.

In an affidavit, the EDMC said salaries of its safai karamcharis are released up to December 2015 but, as of January 2016, Rs 217 crore is needed to make up to date payments of salaries to all categories of employees including pension to retirees.

It sought the immediate release of municipal reforms funds which are already provided under the recommendation of 3rd Finance Commission but not being released by the Delhi government for the last three financial years.

EDMC’s counsel Mini Pushkarna said the corporation is facing “huge financial crunch” and is unable to sustain its financial liabilities and has already written to Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for grant of a Rs 500 crore bail out package.

On the other hand, the Delhi government vehemently denied that the non-payment of salaries or arrears to employees of civic bodies were due to non-release of funds and instead blamed it on “the massive financial mismanagement” by the corporation.

In its affidavit, the government said the total funds available with the MCDs are over and above the expenditure that has been incurred. It also said that the MCDs are at “liberty” to recover property tax from unauthorized colonies.

“Municipal corporations have been attempting to get their statutory nonfeasance excused or justified by creating a boogey of non-release of funds by the answering respondent,” the state government said, adding 100 percent of the revised estimates of the year 2015-2016 amounting to Rs 892.92 crore, Rs 465.53 crore and Rs 830.41 crores for North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), EDMC and South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) respectively, under non-plan heads, has already been released.

The response of EDMC and the Delhi government came on a PIL seeking the release of salaries of municipal workers. The employees of three civic corporations have been on strike since January 27, demanding payment of salaries and pending wages.(IANS)

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Blow for Kejriwal: EC recommends disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs

A big blow to the Aam Aadmi Party after the Election Commission recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs

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Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia commons
Arvind Kejriwal's party seems to be in trouble after the EC recommended disqualification of 20 of its MLAs. Wikimedia Commons
  • The EC recommended disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs under the ‘office of profit’ pretext
  • AAP looks forward to approaching the Delhi High court
  • The controversy started after Prashant Patel had submitted an application to the President

The Election Commission has recommended the disqualification 20 AAP MLAs. The EC found them guilty of holding an ‘office of profit’. The recommendation has been sent to the President. If cleared, the disqualification would mean that AAP’s strength in Delhi Assembly will reduce from 67 to 47.

The 20 AAP legislators were accused of being unconstitutionally appointed as parliamentary secretaries to assist various ministers of the Delhi government. The EC’s opinion on this matter means that the AAP legislators are set to be disqualified, which could soon force a mini Assembly election in the national capital.

The party now looks forward to approach the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation be struck down. Wikimedia Commons
The party now looks forward to approaching the Delhi High Court, pleading that the recommendation is struck down. Wikimedia Commons

“This is unprecedented. The MLAs in question didn’t get a chance to present their case before the EC. In fact, we didn’t hear the news from the EC, but news channels,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said.

ALSO READ: Anna Hazare comes out in open support about Chanda Bandh Satyagraha against Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

Opposition parties have demanded the immediate resignation of Arvind Kejriwal as chief minister of Delhi on moral ground.

The ‘office of profit’ controversy had started after a lawyer, Prashant Patel, had filed an application in 2015 to the President’s office. It questioned the appointment of AAP MLAs as parliamentary secretaries.

The Congress had filed a petition in Election Commission in 2016 as a follow-up, based on this application. The opposition party sought disqualification of 21 AAP MLAs.

Kejriwal had appointed MLAs in March 2015 and his government passed an amendment to the Delhi Members of Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualification) Act, 1997, in June 2015. Wikimedia Commons

AAP had argued that this post did not qualify as an office of profit as there is no monetary benefit attached to it. But then President Pranab Mukherjee refused to give assent, following which the appointments were set aside by the Delhi High Court in September 2016, declaring them illegal since the order had been passed “without concurrence/approval of the Lt Governor”.

ALSO READ: Discontentment in the Aam Aadmi Party is resulting in Resignation and withdrawals from the party

In the first reaction to the EC recommendation, AAP spokesperson Nagendar Sharma tweeted:

Here’s the list of 20 MLAs who have been recommended to be disqualified: 

1. Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli)
2. Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar)
3. Praveen Kumar (Jangpura)
4. Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar)
5. Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka)
6. Sanjeev Jha (Burari)
7. Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar)
8. Sukhvir Singh (Mundka)
9. Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar)
10. Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar)
11. Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk)
12. Rajesh Rishi (Janakpuri)
13. Anil Kumar Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar)
14. Manoj Kumar (Kondli)
15. Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh)
16. Avtar Singh (Kalkaji)
17. Vijendar Garg Vijay (Rajinder Nagar)
18. Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur)
19. Sharad Kumar (Narela)
20. Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar)