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Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Explained: What’s the Rs 6,000 crore toll tax ‘scam’ in Delhi’s MCD?

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has alleged a Rs 6,000 crore scam in the collection of toll tax by MCD. What are his claims? How has the MCD responded?

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia addresses a press conference in New Delhi. (PTI Photo/File)

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday wrote to Lieutenant-Governor V K Saxena demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the alleged toll tax scam of Rs 6,000 crore in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has levelled allegations against the MCD that it colluded with two toll tax companies and caused a huge loss to the public exchequer. Sisodia alleged 10 lakh commercial vehicles enter Delhi everyday and tax is collected from them, but does not reach the MCD.

How does MCD collect toll tax?

Commercial vehicles entering Delhi have to pay between Rs 700 and Rs 1,400 for an Environment Compliance Certificate, and Rs 100 and Rs 2,000 for toll depending on size and category. The MCD is the agency in-charge of collecting toll in Delhi. Toll tax collections are managed by private contractors who make payments as per open tenders to the municipal body.

Of Delhi’s 124 border points, RFID toll collection systems have been installed at 13 major entry points, used by nearly 80-85 per cent of commercial vehicle traffic entering the city.

According to AAP, 10 lakh commercial vehicles from Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and other neighbouring cities enter the national capital via the 124 routes every day.

Delhi toll tax scam: What is AAP’s allegation?

Sisodia has alleged a Rs 6,000 crore scam in the collection of toll tax by MCD.

He explained that the MCD awarded a tender to a private company in 2017 for the collection of toll tax, and, as per the contract, the company had to pay Rs 1,200 crore to the MCD every year. “The company paid the full amount to MCD in the first year, but ever since, in connivance with MCD, stopped giving the collected tax to the civic agency. The corporation, which should have cancelled the tender, blacklisted the company and issued a tender to a new company, but has done nothing for the last four years,” he claimed.

Sisodia also alleged that in 2021, the MCD awarded the tender to the sister organisation of the previous company for a less amount. “The company was given relaxation of Rs 83 crore on account of the pandemic,” he said.

What is MCD’s defence?

The civic body said that in 2017, the contract was awarded to the said company for Rs 1,206 crore per annum for a period of five years. After getting the contract, the company stated that it suffered losses on account of opening the Eastern Peripheral and Western Peripheral, and challenged the issue in the High Court.

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A senior official of the MCD said the court ordered authorities to stop toll collection from the free lane, and the company sought compensation for the loss it alleged to have suffered.

“MCD held several rounds of meetings to resolve the matter, and on failure of the company to make due payments, it terminated the contract,” the official said.

“At present, MCD has initiated proceedings for attachment of properties of the company. All legal steps have been initiated against the company and the matter is sub-judice in the High Court,” the official added.

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What’s behind the new political tussle between AAP and the Delhi L-G?

The L-G of Delhi has in the recent past suspended several officials of the Delhi government, accusing them of corruption. Last week, L-G Saxena approved the suspension and initiation of disciplinary proceedings for “serious lapses” against 11 officers of the excise department, including the then excise commissioner, over the Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22.

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The AAP, with its fresh allegations, seems to be reminding the L-G that while he is taking action against Delhi government officials, he has been ignoring the complaints against the MCD, which has an impression of being corruption ridden.

First published on: 12-08-2022 at 11:06:40 am
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