first_imgOffice furniture worth ₹11.75 lakh was bought by the Public Works Department for 21 MLAs who were appointed parliamentary secretaries to ministers and a trip taken by one of the MLAs was paid for by the Information Technology Department, documents submitted by the Delhi government to the Election Commission of India reveal. According to the submission of the Chief Secretary to the ECI in September 2016, all 21 parliamentary secretaries wrote to the General Administration Department (GAD) on April 8, 2016 to ask for “information/details regarding salary/remuneration, expenses, official vehicle etc”. The GAD replied on April 21, 2016 that “no facility” —“technical devices, vehicle, staff for office, residential accommodation, office space, travelling allowance or any additional emoluments/reimbursements of any nature” —had been given to parliamentary secretaries. The ECI on Friday recommended that 20 of the Aam Aadmi Party MLAs who had been appointed parliamentary secretaries on March 13, 2015 be disqualified for holding an office of profit. One of the 21 MLAs, Jarnail Singh of Rajouri Garden, had resigned in 2017. While the AAP has maintained that the MLAs did not get any monetary benefits or perks, the reply to the ECI shows that some departments did spend money on the parliamentary secretaries. Offices set upThe 21 MLAs were given rooms in the Delhi Assembly for their offices. The PWD said on September 14, 2016 that it received a requisition letter from the Deputy Secretary in the Delhi Assembly secretariat on May 15, 2015 for “providing 21 executive tables, 21 executive chairs, 136 visitors chairs for the 21 parliamentary secretaries for which ₹11,75,828 was spent by PWD”.The PWD said the Assembly secretariat had on June 16, 2015 “conveyed approval of ₹13,26,300 for this purpose”.Referring to the offices provided to the parliamentary secretaries, AAP Delhi convenor and Minister Gopal Rai said the decision was of the Assembly, not of the government. The Chief Secretary’s reply said the Sindhi Academy, which is under the Art, Culture and Language Department, had provided two small rooms to parliamentary secretary Alka Lamba for her office. The reply said the PWD had renovations done and the water and electricity bills were paid by the ACL department. When asked, Ms. Lamba told The Hindu “all 70 MLAs of Delhi are given office space in their constituency”. The Chief Secretary also informed the ECI that MLA Adarsh Shastri, parliamentary secretary to Minister of Information and Technology, was given ₹15,479 “on account of attending a conference session”. Mr. Shastri told The Hindu the amount was a “reimbursement for a trip to Mumbai to attend a conference”.“Under the office of profit law at the time, reimbursements were exempt. We were not given a chance by the ECI to reply,” said Mr. Shastri. The 20 MLAs on Saturday asked for an appointment with President Ram Nath Kovind, who has yet to give his assent to the ECI’s recommendation.last_img

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