Delhi discoms not cooperating in audit, CAG tells HC

20 March 2014

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) on Wednesday told the Delhi High Court that Delhi's three private power distribution companies or discoms were not cooperating in the audit of their finances.

Lending credence to the allegations of Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Admi Party that they are fleecing consumers, the CAG complained to a single-judge bench of Justice Manmohan that the three discoms in the National Capital Region - Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna (the latter two run by Anil Ambani's Reliance Infrastructure) - were not providing documents sought by its audit team.

The three discoms had moved the court challenging the directive by the short-lived AAP government in Delhi for a CAG audit of their finances. The discoms said the audit was ordered by the government with a "predetermined mind" and a "political ploy", and was passed without giving the discoms an opportunity to be heard.

The Delhi government, however, had earlier argued that it had 49-per cent share in each of the three discoms and thus had a right to examine their finances.

Justice Manmohan had earlier directed the discoms to cooperate with the auditor.

On Wednesday, the Delhi government now under the centrally appointed Lieutenant-Governor's rule came out in full support of the audit of the discoms, and asked the high court to direct them to "cooperate fully with the audit team constituted by the CAG and submit all necessary documents and information".

"It would be in larger public interest to have the accounts of the discoms audited by the CAG as it may bring out several possibilities for improving efficiency and reduction of financial requirement of these companies and thereby leading to an overall reduction of electricity tariffs for the consumers of Delhi," the government said.

Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung had 1 January directed the CAG to undertake the audit. The then chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, soon after assuming office on 28 December, met CAG Shashi Kant Sharma and urged him to audit the three private companies.

Subsequently on 7 January, the Delhi government ordered an audit of the discoms by the CAG. The discoms then filed writ petitions before the Delhi High Court.

The court will next hear the matter 16 May.

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