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Lokayukta notice to former, current DERC members on tariff

Last Updated: Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 19:56

New Delhi: Delhi Lokayukta has issued
notices to a former and a current member of Delhi`s power
regulator DERC on a complaint alleging that they abused their
position to obtain gains for private discoms on the issue of
fixing power tariff.

The order by Lokayukta Justice Manmohan Sarin to issue
notices to Shyam Wadhera and S R Sethi came after hearing a
petition that alleged that both of them reversed their earlier
stand of seeking a cut in power tariff to favour a hike in it
coming under influence of private discoms and city government.
In the petition, the complainant alleged that although
the members had agreed to slashing the tariff while preparing
the annual tariff schedule for the year 2010-11, later they
changed their stand on the issue and did not even cooperate
with DERC chief Berjinder Singh following which the revised
tariff could not be announced.

In a letter to the city government in December last year,
Wadhera and Sethi, following retirement of Singh, had
justified the demands of the private distribution companies
for hiking the existing tariff. Sethi, who had even signed the
finalised tariff order, had retired from the commission last

In May, in an unusual move, the city government through a
notification had stalled DERC`s decision to announce the
annual tariff for 2010-11 till it re-examines the demands from
discoms to increase the rates.

The DERC, which was making last minute preparations to
announce the new tariff, after receiving the government
directive had indicated that it had planned to cut down the
tariff by 20 to 25 per cent as discoms would have a surplus of
around Rs 4,000 crore if the existing tariff was not tinkered

Then DERC Singh later sent a reply to the government
notification justifying the commission`s intention to cut down
the tariff.
But the reply was not signed by Sethi and Wadhera
although Solicitor General Gopal Subrahmanium held that the
government notification asking DERC not to pass the tariff
order amounted to putting "fetters on quasi-judicial function"
of the regulator.

As both Sethi and Wadhera did not sign the DERC reply,
the Delhi government had rejected it.

The complainant in his petition submitted that
non-issuance of tariff order for "extraneous considerations"
despite clear legal advice of the Solicitor General amounted
to abuse of power for "corrupt and improper motives" to
benefit the discoms which also demonstrated their lack of
faithfulness to adjudicatory duties.

Finding merit in the petition, the Lokayukta ordered
issuance of notices to both Wadhera and Sethi under Delhi
Lokayukta and Upalokayukta Act.


First Published: Thursday, February 10, 2011 - 19:56

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