A Delhi court on Thursday framed charges of corruption and criminal conspiracy against Swati Maliwal, the head of the Delhi Commission for Women, and three others, Live Law reported.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau had filed a first information report in the case in 2016 based on a complaint by Barkha Shukla Singh, a former chief of the women’s panel. Singh had accused Maliwal of nepotism and favouritism in the appointment of 87 staff members in the Delhi Commission for Women from August 6, 2015, to August 1, 2016.

Special Judge Dig Vinay Singh framed charges against Maliwal, Promila Gupta, Sarika Chaudhary and Farheen Malick under Section 120B of the Indian Penal Code (criminal conspiracy) and provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with criminal misconduct by a public servant, the Hindustan Times reported.

The judge observed that a “strong suspicion” arises against the accused persons and that the facts of the case prima facie provide enough material to frame charges.

The court said that the women’s panel had been urging the Delhi government to fill vacant posts but the government did not respond promptly. The judge said this did not give the commission the right to make arbitrary appointments.

“The facts do create a strong suspicion that recruitments to various posts were made during the impugned tenure of the accused persons for different remunerations in arbitrary manner, violating all rules and regulations in which the near and dear ones were appointed and remunerations were given to them from public exchequer,” the judge said.

The prosecution has alleged that at least 20 out of the 87 appointed persons were directly associated with the Aam Aadmi Party. It alleged that the appointments were made without issuing any advertisements for the posts.

Maliwal has said that the case would not act as a deterrent for her. She has said that the Delhi Commission for Women would continue to work and ask questions, and claimed that this was what was “disturbing her opponents the most”, according to the Hindustan Times.

“Even if I am sent to jail, I will prepare a report on the condition of women there and submit it to the Delhi government,” Maliwal had said.