New Delhi, July 18: In an embarrassment to Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, the city Lokayukta today slammed her for “misrepresenting” facts by announcing in the run up to 2008 assembly polls that 60,000 low-cost flats were ready and recommended to the President to censure her.
Deprecating the conduct of Dikshit, the Lokayukta, in his order, said people should “stand up against unethical practices” and build up a strong public opinion to ensure that public functionaries adhere to “high standards of integrity and conduct.”
Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin's order came following investigation into the complaint filed by advocate Sunita Bhardwaj, a BJP worker.
Dikshit refused to comment on the order saying that she has not studied it. She, however, maintained that distribution of flats was a “complex process” and that the government was not trying to “mislead” anybody.
The Lokayukta held that ahead of 2008 assembly polls, Dikshit misrepresented to the public that 60,000 flats were ready for handing over knowing well that the same were not ready, in order to “obtain gain or favour to herself or her political party.”
“It is high time that people stand up against unethical practices and build up a strong public opinion to ensure that public functionaries adhere to high standards of integrity and conduct.
“However, this change cannot come overnight and it will take time. Therefore the least which ought to be done is to tell the truth about the misconduct of a public functionary and to publicly deprecate it,” he said.
Dikshit's “misrepresentation” of facts was contained in a message of her in a booklet which was part registration form for allotment of flats to the urban poor and slum dwellers, the order said.
“The Lokayukta recommends to the President to administer a caution to the Chief Minister to be careful in publication of her messages in future,” the order said.
The Lokayukta said the circumstances reveal that it was not a mere chance that the announcement and timing of inviting application for the scheme coincided with the ensuing elections.
“This is especially so with the excellent track record of the Respondent (Dikshit) of having three consecutive elections victories and the credibility and sway which she has over the masses,” the Delhi Lokayukta, who initiated an inquiry into the complaint in October 2009, said.
Observing that public was liable to be misled by statements of high public functionaries, the Lokayukta said Dikshit has not shown any “any regret” for her message or felt that it was a “bonafide inadvertent error” or “claim it as being unhappily worded.”
“Gullible public can be easily misled by statements of public functionaries holding high positions. Ironically, in her message the respondent urges the public to truthfully state about their eligibility but she herself is not practicing what she preached,” the order said.
Slamming the Chief Minister, the Lokayukta said instead of expressing regret, Dikshit vehemently defended the message (written in Hindi) and “put forwarded an incorrect translation from a private agency empanelled with the government and sought to justify it.” PTI