Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena has directed for the removal of the Delhi government’s nominees from the boards of BSES discoms BRPL and BYPL for their appointments being “grossly illegal”, sources said on Friday.
Saxena has directed for the replacement of the “private individuals”, appointed as nominees, to the boards of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL) with senior government officers, the sources at the LG office said, alleging that these nominees extended undue financial benefits to the discoms.
The Delhi government dismissed the allegations as “absolutely baseless” and said the decisions taken by the LG are “illegal”.
“All allegations made by the LG are absolutely baseless. The constitution bench of the Supreme Court has clearly said in its orders that the LG does not have any powers to take independent decisions. Therefore, his decisions and directions are illegal and unconstitutional. He is acting like a dictator with complete disregard for the highest court of our land. This is tantamount to contempt of the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government said in a statement.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met Saxena on Friday.
The LG took the decision on the basis of an inquiry report submitted to him by the power department and the chief secretary, following a complaint on September 26, 2022.
“On account of the grossly illegal appointments of private individuals by the AAP government as its nominees, in total violation of constitutional provisions, on the boards of BSES discoms (BRPL and BYPL), the LG has asked for the removal of these nominees — Jasmine Shah (AAP spokesperson), Naveen ND Gupta (son of AAP MP ND Gupta), Umesh Tyagi and JS Deswal — and replace them with senior government officers, as was the practice in the past,” one of the sources said.
The source added that the nomination of these private individuals to the boards of the discoms was patently illegal “since due process of law was not followed”.
“These compromised nominees provided undue financial benefits, running into thousands of crores, to these discoms at the cost of the state exchequer and Delhi government-run undertakings (DTL, IPGCL and PPCL). The LG has asked for the chief minister to be informed about this and action to be taken,” the source said.
The report said the “private individuals” were appointed by the AAP government as “government nominees” on the boards of BRPL and BYPL in 2019, “despite written objections on file by the then LG, Najeeb Jung, on November 1, 2016 and LG Anil Baijal on August 11, 2017″.
“In 2017, the chief minister sent a file proposing their appointment as government nominees, disposing which Baijal had directed that a cabinet decision in this regard be taken and sent to him so that he could invoke difference of opinion according to clause 4 of Article 239AA of the Constitution,” the source said.
The sources added that the cabinet decided to go ahead with the appointments and instead of sending the file to Baijal, who would have invoked the said clause, “surreptitiously notified the appointment of these private individuals as government nominees on the boards of the discoms”.
The Delhi government has 49 per cent shares in these private discoms and according to Article 6 of the shareholders’ agreement, the government nominees on the boards of the discoms have veto power to block any inappropriate proposal that is detrimental to the state’s finances.
“However, these private nominees, instead of protecting the interests of the government, acted in collusion with the private companies to serve the financial interests of the discoms,” one of the sources said.
The LG has also asked the Directorate of Vigilance to investigate the omission or commission noted on part of the private individuals acting as government nominees from the angle of any possible quid pro quo.
In his order, Saxena has also directed the power department to take immediate and concerted efforts to get the Supreme Court’s status-quo order vacated at the earliest and undertake any other legal action as may deem fit under the applicable laws to ensure the recovery of the outstanding dues from the discoms.
The report also accused the city government of violating its own cabinet decision of 2015-16 that entailed that an audit of BRPL and BYPL would be conducted every year for the electricity subsidy paid to them by the government and allowing no audit to be conducted even as payments amounting to Rs 11,500 crore kept getting settled in favour of BRPL and BYPL.
It also said the nominees blocked the implementation of DBT in the disbursal of power subsidy to people, in contravention of a 2018 order of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC), “with the sole aim of concealing the actual number of subsidy beneficiaries and thereby, paying unverified amounts to these discoms”.
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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)