The removal of Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) chairman Krishna Saini has led to another round of confrontation between Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung. While Jung’s office said Saini’s appointment was made without the L-G’s approval, Kejriwal accused him of “hatching a major conspiracy” to increase power tariff in the capital by replacing an honest chairman with “Ambani ka aadmi (Ambani’s man)”.
“During Sheila Dikshit’s time, power companies would randomly increase load on power bills. They resorted to dadagiri and goondagardi. Krishna Saini is honest and has a good service record. He was appointed by following due processes and has been working for eight months. He passed orders such as granting compensation to consumers for power cuts of more than two hours. Apparently, power companies were displeased with this. Their tariff has not increased for two years. We all know two of three power companies are owned by Anil Ambani, who is very close to the Prime Minister. Ambani has put pressure for Saini’s removal,” Kejriwal alleged. A spokesperson for Reliance ADA Group declined to comment on Kejriwal’s statement.
Leader of opposition in the Delhi assembly Vijender Gupta said, “This is a senseless and irresponsible statement by the CM… This means the power tariff is going to increase and he is using the situation to disown his commitment…”
Kejriwal claimed the L-G had “woken up from his slumber” after eight months. “You can’t use your power after eight months. Why didn’t he say it in January, when he was informed about the appointment?” said the CM.
IRS officer Sukesh Jain was also removed from his position of power secretary on Saturday and replaced with IAS officer Varsha Joshi, the L-G’s secretariat confirmed. “It is a cadre post and a non-cadre officer cannot occupy it for more than three months,” said an official.
A source from the L-G’s secretariat said, “The L-G can’t be dragged into frivolous issues of appointment on a daily basis at a time when Delhi is dealing with serious issues such as air pollution. The appointment was canceled because procedures were not followed. Saini can be re-appointed to the post if all procedures are followed and the LG’s approval is sought, like in the case of the DCW chairperson.”