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The ground on which the AAP government objected to Shakuntala Gamlin’s appointment as chief secretary was that she was asking for a letter of comfort for discoms to take loans. Power Minister Satyendra Jain alleged that Power Secretary Gamlin favoured discoms by proposing such a letter for them and should not be considered for Delhi’s top bureaucratic job.
But it has come to light that secretary to the chief minister, Rajendra Kumar, too wrote a letter of comfort for discoms in 2008. When the Lt-Governor notified Gamlin as chief secretary, principal secretary (services) Anindo Majumdar issued orders appointing Gamlin as officiating chief secretary. Kejriwal’s office took serious objection to it and replaced him with Kumar, currently secretary to the chief minister and power secretary and CMD, Delhi Transco Ltd in 2008.
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In 2008, Kumar gave letter of comfort for discoms, that was sought by power generating company NTPC, whereas Gamlin had asked for a letter for the purpose of a loan sought by state lender Power Finance Corporation.
The letter of comfort to NTPC was in lieu of payment of outstanding bills and accountability of payment lies with major stakeholders. In his letter dated March 17, 2008, Kumar stated, “In case any occasion arises to regulate the power supply to the distribution licensees due to default in payment by discoms, GNCTD would intervene in settling its dues from discoms to avoid disruption of power in the overall interest of consumers. This commitment of intervention is without any financial commitment.”
The letter of comfort is issued to NTPC so that the arrangements for signing of the supplementary power purchase agreements with the central generating stations and transmission utilities are completed and so that the people would not face disruption in power supply.
Several attempts to contact Kumar on Monday failed.
In his letter to the L-G, Kejriwal mentioned the power minister’s letter against Gamlin, where he wrote that he has “suspicions” about the actions of Gamlin as she has been “persistently pestering me to give comfort letter to Power Finance Corporation in favour of power companies”.
A government representative, when contacted, said, “AAP was not in power when Kumar issued the letter. If a wrong thing has happened in the past, should we let it happen in the present as well? We will not.”