Two DANICS officers suspended over ‘unproductive expenditure’ on Delhi govt ads

- March 9, 2024
| By : Patriot Bureau |

Shamim Akhtar and Manoj Dwivedi, who previously served as directors in the said department, have been suspended with immediate effect by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), exercising powers granted by the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965

Delhi Lt Governor VK Saxena had in January this year recommended to the MHA disciplinary action against the two officers.

The Central government has taken action against two officials from the Delhi government’s Directorate of Information and Publicity, suspending them due to allegations of “unproductive expenditure” on advertisements.

Shamim Akhtar and Manoj Dwivedi, who previously served as directors in the said department, have been suspended with immediate effect by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), exercising powers granted by the Central Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1965.

Shamim Akhtar, a 1996-batch officer of the Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Island Civil Services (DANICS), is currently serving in the Urban Development department of the Delhi government, while Manoj Dwivedi (DANICS, 2003) was last posted in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The decision to suspend these officers comes after Delhi Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena recommended disciplinary action against them to the MHA earlier this year. The MHA holds the authority to take action against DANICS officers.

The issue stems from a complaint filed by former Delhi Congress president Ajay Maken back in 2016, alleging “unproductive expenditure” of Rs 97 crore on advertisements by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi. The complaint accused the AAP government of disguising political advertisements as government promotions.

The matter was examined by the Supreme Court mandated Committee on Content Regulation on Government Advertising (CCRGA). In its report, the committee directed the recovery of expenses incurred on advertisements published outside Delhi, advertorials featuring AAP’s name, and advertisements containing the Delhi chief minister’s views on issues in other states.

Subsequently, on March 29, 2017, the then Delhi Lieutenant Governor ordered the recovery of released payments, froze further payments, and initiated an inquiry to fix responsibility. The Directorate of Information and Publicity (DIP) secretary issued a notice to AAP on March 30, 2017, demanding reimbursement of the Rs 97 crore spent on specific advertisements.

AAP challenged this notice in the Delhi High Court, and the matter remains pending before the court.

(With PTI inputs)