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FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS from the Joint Electricity Regulatory Commission (JERC), the UT adviser has marked an inquiry against the chairperson of UT Consumer Grievances Redressal Forum (CGRF), R K Arora, on account of his alleged “misconduct and the procedural and financial lapses”, “administrative impropriety” and “availing unauthorised TA/DA claims”.
CGRF role is to redress the public grievances relating to electricity services in the city.
Chief engineer Mukesh Anand vide order issued on August 16 on behalf of UT Adviser Parimal Rai appointed retired IAS officer H R Gangar as inquiry officer to probe the charges framed against Arora in terms of the Regulation 8(I) (F) and (G) of JERC Regulation, 2009.
Further, Deepak Bansal, executive engineer, has been appointed as presenting officer for production of record to the inquiry officer.
After receiving several oral and written complaints against R K Arora, JERC carried out inspection in June 2015 to review the working of CGRF. The commission, in its report, pointed out glaring procedural lapses committed by R K Arora as chairman. As per the report, Arora abused his power and position as chairman.
The report pointed out that Arora’s behaviour and conduct is not consumer-friendly and he uses abusive language during hearings. The chairman is required to attend office on all working days and cannot remain absent from duty without permission of the competent authority. During inspection of records, it came to the fore that Arora converted his personal visits into official visits for visiting JERC office in Gurgaon for three or more days on each occasion.
Arora attended hearings of JERC on four occasions — August 8, 2104; October 31, 2014; January 19, 2015; and March 9, 2015 — in personal capacity and converted the same into official visits to claim holidays and TA/DA.
Flouting the norms, Arora neither registered nor gave separate serial number of each year on receipt of complaints. It was also seen that in many cases wrong dates were given as date of institution of the complaints. As per rules, each complaint has to be disposed of within 40 days from the date of receipt. However, the report pointed out that complaints involving huge amounts are pending disposal for a long period of time, even more than a year in some cases.
The report also noted that Arora failed to maintain coordination and trust with the other three members. Without any authority, Arora passed strictures against member R N Mittal.
The commission on July 20, 2015, had sought explanation from Arora. After examining the reply submitted by Arora, the commission expressed dissatisfaction with the explanations given by him and stated that his procedural irregularities and misconduct brought disrepute to CGRF constituted under the Electricity Act, 2003.
When contacted, Anand said they expected the inquiry to be completed in a month’s time.
Talking to Chandigarh Newsline, Arora rubbished the allegations. “Truth will prevail and I will extend my cooperation to the investigating officer,” he said.
Quote and apology
HIGH drama was witnessed at the public hearing session of JERC held in Chandigarh in April 2016 after Arora quoted Winston Churchill: “You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.” Arora had reacted after Sanjeev Sagar, president, Industrial Area Tenants Association, accused CGRF of working under pressure of the electricity department. Sagar and others objected and made Arora to apologise.