Charges, counter-charges imploding Delhi government

A cursory look at the report would show that every PSU under Delhi government was incurring loss, which is in direct contrast to government’s claims that under them Delhi was financially vibrant.

Published: 15th August 2022 07:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2022 07:23 AM   |  A+A-

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a roadshow . (Photo | Express)

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in a roadshow . (Photo | Express)

Express News Service

While we are still trying to figure out what put the legislative functioning of the Arvind Kejriwal government into abeyance in Delhi for the past four years, a flurry of attacks by them has further muddied the water. Last we learnt that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia stonewalled tabling of the Comptroller and Auditor General’s report in the house for four consecutive years.

Now that the report is in the public domain, one learns what made the Kejriwal government hold back the reports. The CAG reports pertaining to the years 2017-18 to 2020-21 point to several irregularities of serious nature in the accounts and finance across various departments of the Delhi government.

A cursory look at the report would show that every PSU under Delhi government was incurring a loss, which is in direct contrast to the government’s claims that under them Delhi was financially vibrant. As per the report, Delhi government power companies' losses stood at Rs 2,561 crore. The Delhi Transport Corporation incurred a loss of Rs 29,143 crore while the loss for Delhi Jal Board was Rs 27,660 crore, the CAG papers indicate.

Now that indictment of the Jal Board is in way indictment of the Aam Aadmi Party’s poster boy Raghav Chadha, who headed it for several years, a counter offensive had to be launched. No wonder, Sisodia last week wrote to Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena and demanded a CBI probe into the alleged toll tax scam of Rs 6,000 crores in the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. The development came a day after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) levelled allegations against the MCD that it colluded with two toll tax companies and caused a huge loss to the public exchequer.

With no intent to either give a clean chit to the BJP-led MCD or its officials, it’s unlikely that Sisodia’s claim on the municipal body was going to stick as the charge of patronising liquor cartels against former L-G Anil Baijalprima facie did not hold. Such charges are being seen as a defensive mechanism especially when one is himself under probe for corrupt practices.

Coming back to the CAG report, in one place it’s mentioned that Rs 37 lakh out of Rs 2.16 crore budget for replacement of sewer lines at West Laxmi Market and Khureji Khas project was spent on advertisements for the foundation stone laying ceremony. The main charge against the Delhi government is that while goes into publicity over-drive, it never cares to check whether the projects it inaugurated, and unveiled ever got completed. The CAG report has pointed to unutilised funds for several critical projects including those for Swachh Bharat Mission and Regional Rapid Transit System Corridor.

If this was not enough, the cases against Kejriwal’s confidant and Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan too are back in the public domain. The cases relate to alleged financial bungling in the bank accounts of the Waqf Board, creation of tenancy in Waqf Board properties, corruption in the purchase of vehicles and illegal appointment of 33 people in the Delhi Waqf Board in violation of the service rules, among others, the 
reports say. 

A case in this regard was registered by the ACB in January 2020 under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code. The sum and substance of the past fortnight’s developments are that the Delhi government is imploding under the pressures of non-governance or shall we say rather mal-governance.

With the Centre having made up its mind to long-overdue close monitoring,  courts so far refusing relief to jailed minister Satyender Jain and cases piling up against his other colleagues, Kejriwal is now destined for a very rough drive ahead.

‘Many depts under govt incurred major losses’
The CAG reports pertaining to the years 2017-18 to 2020-21 point to several irregularities of serious nature in the accounts and finance across various departments of government. A cursory look at the report would show that every PSU under Delhi government was incurring a loss, which is in direct contrast to the government’s claims that under them Delhi was financially vibrant. As per the report, Delhi government power companies' losses stood at Rs 2,561 crore. The Delhi Transport Corporation incurred a loss of Rs 29,143 crore while the loss for Delhi Jal Board was Rs 27,660cr.

Sidharth Mishra
 Author and president, Centre for Reforms, Development & Justice



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