The private power distribution companies of the city — BSES Yamuna Power Ltd, BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd — on Wednesday filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court, challenging the “legality” of the CAG audit announced by the AAP-led Delhi government.
The government said it would respond in court appropriately once it gets a copy of the petition. “Unless the court orders a stay, the CAG audit will happen. The scope of audit was shared with the discoms on Wednesday. Their intentions, however, are clear. We now know the discoms will not be forthcoming in showing their records to the audit teams,” an official in the Power department said.
Following approval from Lt-Governor Najeeb Jung, the CAG has agreed to the Delhi government’s request to audit the three discoms for the entire period since 2002, when power distribution was privatised in Delhi.
Two meetings have been held so far between officials from the discoms, Delhi government and the CAG. On Wednesday, the discoms, however, termed the government decision “illegal”, saying CAG’s powers do not extend to them.
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“We welcome any independent audit within the purview of law. (But) CAG’s powers do not extend to Delhi discoms. We are already being audited for the past 10 years by CAG-empanelled audit firms. DERC (the power regulator) has conducted multiple special audits on the discoms,” a BSES spokesperson said.
A statement issued by Tata Power stated: “Tata Power Delhi Distribution is already audited as per the provisions of the Companies Act and complies with the directions of DERC under The Electricity Act 2003. It has no objection to any other audit being undertaken in accordance with law, as long as its purpose and scope is clear.”
A TPDDL spokesperson said the company had written to the Power department on several occasions “to detail the terms and conditions and scope on which the proposed audit is to be conducted”. “But till date, we have received no response or clarity on the same,” the official said.
The first formal communication issued by the Power department came on January 7, when the government asked the discoms to appoint a nodal officer to liaison with the Delhi government and the audit team. The additional secretary in the power department was appointed as the nodal officer of the government. The terms of reference or the scope of audit was not shared by either of the three discoms in question.
A senior government official told Newsline that the scope of audit was shared by the discoms late Wednesday, after they had approached the court. The government has demanded a list of 60 documents, including details on the discoms’ purchase, procurement and trading policies, billing accounts, etc.