50 AAP MLAs Refuse To Declare Assets To Lokayukta, Say There Is No Law Prescribing It
Fifty Aam Adami Party (AAP) MLAs have refused to furnish details of their assets to Delhi Lokayukta. They are claiming in their replies that Lokayukta has no jurisdiction over this matter. Till now three MLAs including two from BJP, Vijendra Gupta and Manjinder Singh Sirsa and suspended AAP legislator Kapil Mishra have furnished the details. Others have been given time till February 27 to file their replies.
AAP MLAs refuse to furnish details of assets
AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj has said that there is no law which forces the MLAs to file the details of their assets and liabilities to the Lokayukta, as reported by NDTV. He added that they would support and abide by if a specific provision under the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act makes it compulsory for all MPs and MLAs to file their annual assets.
Bhardwaj also suggested that Lokayukta Justice (retd) Reva Khetrapal has misused the office and the notice by Lokayukta to MLAs is malafide which is the result of her tiff with the Delhi government. He was making a veiled reference to the Delhi government’s decision not to exempt the Lokayukta office from fitting GPS systems in official vehicles.
Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel had written to the Lokayukta asking her to take back the notices issued to the MLAs last week. Goel had then said that under Lokpal and Lokayukta 2013, the MLAs are under no obligation to render such information to the Lokayukta.
The notice to the Delhi MLAs seeking replies about the submission of details of assets and liabilities was based on a complaint by advocate RTI activist Vivek Garg. However, Goel has claimed that the complaint is not signed by Garg and that it is politically motivated. However, the Lokayukta office claims that Garg’s letter was not only signed but also supported by a sworn affidavit, as reported by The New Indian Express.
If judges can disclose, why not MLAs: Delhi Lokayukta
Responding to the refusal by the AAP MLAs over disclosing details about their assets and liabilities, Lokayukta Khetrapal said, “All Supreme Court judges declare their assets and liabilities. They are not obliged to do so. Every High Court judge does the same. They have volunteered to file and place it on the public domain. They have no obligation but they do it for the sake of transparency and probity,” reported The Indian Express.
Additionally, BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, who has furnished the sought details said claiming that Lokayukta has no jurisdiction in the matter was “open defiance of the Constitutional authority.