The Delhi government Saturday suspended three officials of the transport department on charges of corruption, over alleged irregularities in the distribution of Letters of Intent (LoIs) to new autorickshaws.
The decision to suspend the three officials — Deputy Commissioner S Roy Biswas, Inspector Manish Puri and Upper Division Clerk Anil Yadav — was taken at a meeting early Saturday morning, called by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. The meeting was attended by Transport Minister Gopal Rai, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, Public Works Department Minister Satyendar Jain and other senior officials.
The CM had received complaints about LoIs being issued randomly, despite orders to distribute them in chronological order, said officials. He also heard that the letters were allegedly being handed out to financiers, dealers and middlemen instead of applicants, they said.
Later in the day, Sisodia tweeted, “The matter would be handed over to CBI. This govt cannot tolerate corruption at any level”.
Elaborating on the issue, Transport Minister Gopal Rai said, “On December 23, I received some complaints about irregularities in issuance of Letters of Intent to auto drivers at Burari Authority of the transport department, following which I held a meeting with the joint commissioner (transport) and other senior officers and issued directions to probe the matter”.
In the meeting, the government also decided to scrap the 932 LoIs issued by the transport department so far and put on hold the issuance process, which began five days earlier.
“The process, which was stuck for almost a year, was kicked off recently. Because there were 17,000 applicants and only 10,000 autorickshaw permits being handed out, the transport officials were supposed to issue LoIs for the permits on a first-come-first-serve basis. But we saw that they were randomly issuing LoIs to persons at the end of the list and most of them were financiers,” said Rajinder Soni, general secretary of the Delhi Autorickshaw Sangh.
“Autorickshaw drivers realised something was amiss and complained to the government. We demand a CBI inquiry into the matter and the arrest of these financiers,” he added.