After the questions and references committee of the Delhi legislative assembly adjourned two meetings on account of his absence, South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) commissioner Puneet Kumar Goel appeared before it on Tuesday.
The eight-member committee chaired by deputy speaker of the Delhi assembly Rakhi Birla quizzed the commissioner over the allegations that the SDMC has not been executing works under MLA LAD funds and the financial powers of the commissioner.
While the committee had recommended contempt proceedings against the commissioner after he failed to appear before the House on December 7, Birla, on Tuesday, said: “There may have been some hiccups but we should look forward and start on a positive note.”
When the committee questioned Goel on the resolution passed by the standing committee of the SDMC saying no work on setting up open gymnasiums and installing LED lights on roads have been done yet, Goel said, “We are also surprised that the standing committee left out MLA Local Area Development (LAD) fund.” He added that the SDMC would place the issue before the standing committee for reconsideration.
While the standing committee had passed resolutions deciding not to install LED lights and children’s play equipment in parks using MLA LAD funds as it would lead to “duplication of efforts”, Goel told the committee that it was not possible that the horticulture department could have made duplicate estimates and given them to multiple agencies. “If it happens, the officer will get into trouble,” he said.
AAP MLA Saurabh Bhardwaj said that the officer pulled up by the SDMC for allegedly giving an incorrect answer to a question he raised on August 28 in the assembly, was in fact, on leave at the time because his father was hospitalised. “How can you blame an officer who was on leave?” Bhardwaj asked.
SDMC’s chief legal officer Rajneesh Bansal said that a vigilance department inquiry has been initiated in the matter.