Judicial panel serves notice to KCR, seeks reply by June 15

Commission, probing the Chhattisgarh Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and irregularities in Yadadri and Bhadradri thermal power plants, served notices to KCR.
BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao.
BRS supremo K Chandrasekhar Rao.Express.

HYDERABAD : The Justice L Narasimha Reddy Commission, probing the Chhattisgarh Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and irregularities in Yadadri and Bhadradri thermal power plants, served notices to BRS president and former chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao seeking his reply.

KCR sought time till July-end to submit his reply but the Commission asked him to do so by June 15. According to sources, if the written reply given by KCR is not satisfactory, the Commission may summon the former chief minister.

The Commission on Tuesday questioned several officials involved in the PPA signed by the BRS government in 2014 with the Chhattisgarh government for purchasing 1,000 MW power on a long-term basis.

The allegation is that the then government signed the MoU with Chhattisgarh without inviting tenders, resulting in huge financial loss to the state exchequer. The Congress government ordered a judicial probe into the PPA recently.

Justice Reddy said that the Commission identified as many as 25 officials and non-officials involved in the process of signing PPA with the Chhattisgarh government. The Commission asked all of them to give their replies. All gave their replies, except KCR, Justice Reddy told reporters on Tuesday.

D Prabhakar Rao, the then CMD of Transco and Genco, and the then principal Energy secretary Suresh Chanda deposed before the Commission on Monday. Prabhakar Rao said that the PPA with Chhattisgarh was a government-to-government transaction and signed as per the policy of the state government. The Commission also questioned the then secretaries, Arvind Kumar and SK Joshi, on Tuesday.

However, the Commission, as per the information available to it so far, noted that Arvind Kumar wrote to the Telangana Electricity Regulatory Commission stating that the PPA with Chhattisgarh would result in financial losses to the government. 

Chhattisgarh built power plant two years after PPA signing

Arvind Kumar suggested inviting open bids for purchasing power, the Commission noted.

However, during the signing of PPA, Arvind Kumar was not the Energy secretary, as he was shifted to another department. When the two Discoms are signing a PPA, power should be vested with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission to monitor the process.

However, in this case, power was vested with the Chhattisgarh ERC by the Telangana government.

The reason cited by the Telangana government for signing the PPA with Chhattisgarh without inviting open bids was that there was a huge demand for power in 2014 and there was no time to overcome the deficit.

However, the Commission observed that when the PPA was signed, the power plant in Chhattisgarh from where the power was supposed to flow to Telangana was still under construction. The works on the power plant in Chhattisgarh commenced only in 2017.

“We will come to the exact loss caused to the exchequer only after further enquiry,” Justice Reddy said.

The Commission chairman also said that due to the subcritical technology used in Bhadradri thermal power plant, the additional expenditure incurred for extra coal was Rs 250 crore to Rs 300 crore per year. Some say that the financial loss per year was Rs 1,000 crore, the Commission said, and added that the exact loss would be known only after the completion of the inquiry.

Justice Reddy also said that the railway line for Yadadri thermal power plant was not yet laid and expressed doubts about the commissioning of the unit by August this year.

PC Ghose Commission

Meanwhile, the PC Ghose Judicial Commission, probing the alleged irregularities into the Kaleshwaram project, asked officials to file their affidavits. If the affidavits filed by the officials are proven incorrect, then they would face criminal cases, the Commission warned.

The PC Ghose Commission issued notices to as many as 25 persons. The Commission is likely to summon the contracting agencies.

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