Discoms not cooperating with us: CAG to HC

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 21:54

New Delhi: The CAG Wednesday again told the Delhi High Court that power distributing companies of Anil Ambani and Tata groups are not cooperating with it even as the city government questioned the "reluctance" of the discoms for the audit if they had nothing to hide.

The submission was made by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) before Justice Manmohan who on January 24 had refused to stay the then Arvind Kejriwal-led government's decision to conduct a CAG audit of the accounts of BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd, BSES Yamuna Power Ltd of Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd.

The same claim was made by CAG earlier before a larger bench of the high court.

The court today, however, asked the CAG to file an application if it was aggrieved over alleged non-cooperation by the discoms and directed it to file its counter affidavit within three weeks and listed the matter for further hearing on May 16.

Meanwhile, Delhi government in an affidavit placed before the court has denied the allegation of the discoms that the decision to order a CAG audit was in furtherance of the election manifesto of the then Aam Aadmi Party-led government.

It said that the decision for CAG audit had been taken as early as December 27, 2011 and it was only communicated to the discoms on December 28, 2013.

The government also said that if the discoms' accounts are in proper order and there is nothing to hide, then there is no reason why they should oppose the CAG audit.

"If there is nothing to hide then respondent 1 (Delhi government) is unable to understand the petitioners' (discoms) reluctance for getting an audit done by CAG as audit is an essential tool in any democracy," the affidavit, filed through Alka Sharma, Deputy Secretary (Power), said.

It said that as it holds 49 percent stake in all three discoms, therefore, audit is required to maintain the public's faith in these entities.

The government has sought that the plea of the discoms be dismissed and they be directed to "cooperate fully" with the audit team constituted by CAG and submit all necessary documents.

During the brief proceedings, Justice Manmohan queried whether he can list the matter before the division bench which is hearing a PIL by a joint association of RWAs who are seeking CAG audit of discoms.

This suggestion of the court was welcomed by the discoms but opposed by the Delhi government.
A larger bench of the court is slated to hear on March 24 the discoms plea challenging Justice Manmohan's January 24 order.

Justice Manmohan on January 24 had not only refused to stall the CAG audit of the discoms but also asked them to co-operate with the top auditor by furnishing the details sought.

The discoms had initially moved the high court against the January 7 decision of the Aam Aadmi Party-led government ordering CAG audit, saying the top auditor is not empowered to scrutinise accounts of private companies.

The three private firms had come into being in 2002 when the then Delhi government decided to privatise power distribution.

Delhi discoms are a 51:49 percent joint venture between private companies and Delhi government.

Meanwhile, BSES in a statement has said it is "again surprised at the stand taken by CAG counsel before the High Court of Delhi, today, as the audit process is going on smoothly.

"We reiterate that BSES discoms are having cordial and regular meetings with the auditors and there is a continuous flow of information to them. No such concerns have been expressed before us in these meetings."

It has also said that it has been and will continue to co-operate in the audit process and that it has already submitted complete information on 108 queries spread over thousands of pages to the CAG.

"As stated earlier, data compilation relating to a period of 11 years is a time taking process so the information is being supplied progressively," the BSES statement said.


First Published: Wednesday, March 19, 2014 - 21:54

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