Setback to AAP govt; Delhi HC cancels Discom audit

RSTV Bureau

Delhi_High_Court-PTIIn a setback to Arvind Kejriwal-led state government, the Delhi High Court on Friday quashed the government order to get the financial accounts of the three power distribution firms audited by the central auditor. Last year, the power firms or the discoms had moved Delhi High Court challenging the government order directing an audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG). It was one of the prominent promises made by Chief Minister Kejriwal and his Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) during the assembly polls campaign.

Giving its verdict of cancelling the AAP government’s decision, the High Court bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said the entire audit process as well as the draft report of the CAG would be “non-est” and thereby not bearing on the companies.

The discoms suffered an early set-back after a single judge bench ordered them to “fully cooperate with CAG in the audit process” refusing to stall the audit. But that ordered was challenged too.

Meanwhile, reacting to the court’s decision, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government is committed to provide “cheap electricity” in Delhi.

“Del HC order is a temporary setback for the people of Del. Del govt will soon file an appeal in SC…. I am committed to providing cheap electricity to people of Delhi. Our fight will continue,” Arvind Kejriwal wrote on his micro blogging site Twitter.

During the Assembly Elections campaign, Arvind Kejriwal had alleged that the three discoms — Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd were fudging accounts by showing zero billing for big electricity consumers such as Delhi airport and Delhi Jal Board and this resulted in accumulated losses.

Soon after forming their first government in December 2013, the AAP-led Delhi government had ordered the CAG audit after which the three discoms moved Delhi High Court. Notably, in its draft audit report, the CAG had reportedly said that BSES Yamuna, BSES Rajdhani and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd had inflated their previously incurred losses. The report also claimed that discoms manipulated consumer figures, bought costly power, inflated costs and suppressed revenue, favouring their group companies.

In its defense, the discoms had sought postponement and stay of the exit conference till they were provided with the detailed breakup of the alleged loss of over Rs 2,200 crore computed against them by CAG and given a reasonable time to respond to it. The High Court, however, had refused to stay the exit conference which is a discussion between the discoms and CAG on the draft report.

Apart from the petitions of the discoms, the court also gave its verdict on a PIL filed by NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) which has sought an audit of the discoms’ accounts by CAG. While allowing the discoms’ pleas today, the court dismissed the PIL filed by URJA.

(With inputs from the PTI)