After reports emerged of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) indicting Delhi’s three power distribution companies (discoms) for inflating dues by Rs 8,000 crore and manipulating consumer figures, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said tariff rates would have to be brought down.
The Delhi government has also decided to seek legal opinion before approaching the Delhi High Court to appeal against an order prohibiting the publication of the final CAG report.
The High Court in January 2014, while refusing to stay the CAG audit of Delhi’s discoms, had ordered that the report would not be made public till the discoms plea against the audit is heard.
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The Times of India on Tuesday reported that the discoms — BRPL and BYPL run by Reliance ADAG and Tata Power — had inflated their dues to be recovered from consumers by almost Rs 8,000 crore. As per the report, the CAG claimed that there is scope for reducing tariffs in the city.
The report also mentions that companies manipulated consumer figures, scrapped sale details and took actions detrimental to consumer interests including buying costly power, inflating costs, suppressing revenue, dealing with other private companies without tenders and giving undue favours to group companies.
“If whatever has come out is true, then it will be a very big thing. The scam of Rs 8,000 crore has surfaced. Delhiites will be benefited as tariff will have to be brought down. We have received a draft report and we are studying it. Let the final report come,” Kejriwal said.
The draft CAG report was seen as a huge victory for the AAP, which ordered the audit during its 49-day regime in Delhi last year. Saurabh Bhardwaj, AAP MLA from Greater Kailash and party’s Delhi state secretary, said, “The draft report that has come to us through the media shows there was heavy corruption. There have been instances where electricity meters bought from China have been sold for double the cost by discoms. When power was privatised in Delhi, it was done because the discoms were expected to bring clarity in the distribution of power. This CAG draft report shows that electricity was being sold at high rates; false losses were also shown, the burden for which fell on the customers. Discoms showed high loads when they could have shown low loads,” he said.
Meanwhile, discoms called the report irresponsible and faulty. “These media reports are tantamount to blatant contempt of the order of the Delhi High Court, which has put a blanket prohibition on publication of any CAG audit report as the matter is sub-judice,” said a BSES spokesperson.
He added, “The fact of the matter is that the audit process is still not completed, and hence, it is premature to allege that the CAG has arrived at any adverse conclusions against the discoms. The discoms will respond to any observations, as and when called upon to do so by the CAG.”
“It looks like private power companies have been looting the people… the previous Cong government and the present AAP one are partners. We demand a CBI inquiry,” said Delhi BJP president Satish Upadhyay.
“Vis-a-vis the CAG audit of discoms in Delhi, we would like to clarify that the decision for such an audit was taken by a Congress-led Cabinet on Dec 27, 2011,” said the Delhi Congress.
‘While the AAP govt has taken a welcome step… the next steps for recovery, prosecution and takeover of companies is required for cheaper power,” CPI(M) Delhi said.