Friday, 12 June, 2009

PROBES COMPLAINT


Lokayukta probes complaint on misuse of office against minorities panel member

New Delhi The Delhi Lokayukta’s office is investigating a case against a part-time member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, Pushpinder Singh, for misuse of office and influencing the Delhi government’s Information and Publicity department to give a major share of advertisements to a Punjabi newspaper run by him.
The Vigilance department of the Delhi government received an anonymous complaint against Pushpinder Singh, which alleged that out of the three Punjabi newspapers listed with the Delhi Information and Publicity department (DIP), Singh’s newspaper Panthak Samachar has received a bulk of the government ads placed in newspapers of that category.
The DIP has three Punjabi newspapers listed with them — The Educator, Jathedar and Panthak Samachar. The complainant further stated that Pushpinder Singh indirectly runs Jathedar as well. The complainant added that Panthak Samachar does not have a printing press of its own and does not even have enough circulation for placement of government ads. Delhi L-G Tejender Khanna forwarded the complaint to Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin for investigation.
Justice Sarin had initially sent a notice to DIP to collect information on the total number of government advertisements published in Panthak Samachar and the total value of the advertisements.
His office has now also demanded information from the DIP on the paper’s circulation figures, and information on government advertisements placed in other newspapers in the same category with comparable circulation.
According to the initial information provided by DIP for 2007-08, while The Educator got merely 80 advertisements, Panthak Samachar got 202 advertisements.
The Lokayukta has given the department time till July 15 to respond. No notice, however, has been issued to Pushpinder Singh yet.
Meanwhile, Pushpinder Singh, denied the allegations made by the complainant. “The Delhi government has not favoured me any way. All the newspapers have got advertisements on a rotational basis,” Singh told Newsline. He further denied that the other newspaper listed with the DIP, Jathedar, is also run by him indirectly. “I have never even seen the office of that newspaper. How I can run that newspaper?” he asked.

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