New Delhi: The city government on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that a CAG audit of the private discoms here was necessary to clear the air over the alleged anomalies and manipulation of their accounts affecting power tariff rates in the capital.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhawan, appearing for Delhi government, told the court that it wants the Comptroller and Auditor General to audit the accounts of the three discoms from the financial years 2007 and that the government was not interested in a "routine audit".
"We don`t want routine or day to day audit of discoms. We are not bringing them under CAG for forever; it`s only from 2007. Its in public interest that audit be conducted," he argued.
The senior counsel also added that the decision to audit discoms was not a brainchild of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government. In fact during the hearing of PIL on the same issue, the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government was open to an occasional audit, Dhawan said.
After hearing the arguments, the division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw posted the matter for March 2.
The court was hearing a bunch of petitions filed by the discoms including Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd, BSES Rajdhani and BSES Yamuna, against the AAP`s government order directing the CAG to look into their accounts.
Kejriwal, during his first stint as chief minister in 2013, had asked CAG to audit the three private firms. He alleged that the discoms were overcharging the consumers.
On Jan 7, 2014, the Delhi government ordered an audit of the discoms by the CAG. The discoms then filed writ petitions before the Delhi High Court challenging the government`s order.
The discoms, which supply power to consumers in the capital, had earlier argued that they are private companies, and hence not in the ambit of a CAG audit. They alleged that the Delhi government`s order was a "political ploy".
The audit order by the government was passed with "malice in law", without giving the discoms an opportunity to be heard, they said.
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 the private companies and the Delhi government.
The AAP further argued that the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) in 2010 wrote a letter to the then government for a CAG audit of the discoms as it found "large number of anomalies and manipulation of accounts by the discoms to the disadvantage of the people".