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CAG audit of DISCOMs-Import of Delhi High Court Judgment

Joint statement of Former Union Minister & DPCC President Shri Ajay Maken and Shri Aman Panwar (in-charge Power & Law Deptt., DPCC)

Dated: 03.11.2015

While addressing a press conference on 30.10.2015 Shri Ajay Maken had slammed the Delhi Government for the failure of its legal team in effectively putting across the stand of the Government before the Hon’ble High Court in the CAG Audit matter. Shri Maken had also urged the Chief Minister, GNCTD to reconstitute a new panel of lawyers of effectively advise the Government on filing an appeal- challenging the decision of the High Court before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.

However, it is extremely unfortunate that Shri Kejriwal and his ministers are indulging in mud-slinging and are more interested to inquire in the role of lawyers who represented the GNCTD, in the present matter, before the High Court prior to 14.02.2015 i.e. before the second Kejriwal Government came to power.

Since once again the AAP Government is shying away from taking responsibility of their failure and wants to divert attention from the main issue, the following facts are brought before the public/ media:

  • LEGAL STAND OF CONGRESS ON CAG AUDIT:
  1.  
  1. The Judgment dated 30.10.2015 (hereinafter referred to as “the Judgment”) in para 12(iv), page 13 records that “that the Cabinet (GNCTD) had taken a decision on 27th December, 2011 and approved the audit of the three DISCOMs since inception i.e. 1st July, 2002”.
  • Therefore the 1st decision for audit of DISOMs was taken by the Congress Government in Dec, 2011. (Cabinet note attached herewith).
  1. That the Judgment further records in para 12, page 12 onwards that, the GNCTD in an Affidavit filed on 13.03.2014 (during Congress Central rule in Delhi). The following stand was taken on the Affidavit (recorded in the Judgment also):
  1. Para 12(viii) – The stand of the Congress ruled administration was- That the opposition of the DISCOMs to the audit is meritless as substantial public funds have been invested in the DISCOMs. Also considering the fact that GNCTD is a 49% share holder in the DISCOMs, it would be in larger public interest to have the accounts of the DISCOMs audited by the CAG.
  2. Para 12(viii)GNCTD said that CAG Audit will lead to overall reduction in electricity tariff; it was yet further felt that it was important to carry the conviction of the general public/consumers about the authenticity of the claims made by the DISCOMs of suffering losses.
  3. Para 12(xi) – The GNCTD said that, if DIMCOMs accounts are proper and in order, they should have no reason to oppose the audit by the CAG and thus the audit by the CAG would instill greater confidence in the mind of the general public and consumers about the authenticity of the claims of losses made by the DISCOMs.
  4. Para 12(xii) – That there is nothing in the Electricity Act or the Reforms Act which prohibits the audit by the CAG.
  5. Para 12(xiii) – That the CAG itself had issued Public Auditing Guidelines in case of Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, as per which also, even where the Government is a minority partner, public audit should happen when there is a transfer of assets to the private party; the purpose of said audit is to ensure that the said partnership has yielded value for money and the public interest is adequately protected.

Therefore, in view of the above extracts of the Judgment dated 30.10.2015, it is abundantly clear that the Congress initiated the action of CAG audit against the DISCOMs and vociferously supported the same before the Court hearings in Delhi High Court.

  1. REGARDING THE ROLE OF LAWYERS REPRESENTING GNCTD IN THE SAID MATTER: 
  2. In order to save their own skin, the Kejriwal Government has resorted to put the blame on “lawyers” representing the Delhi Government in the CAG Audit matter during the President’s rule. In view of the fact that yet again the AAP Government has decided to run away from responsibility, following facts are stated:
  1. That Shri Prashant Bhushan, erstwhile member of AAP was present in all hearings in the said matter. The following orders reveal that Shri Bhushan also represented GNCTD at several occasions.
  2. http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?ctype=W.P.(C)&cno=529&cyear=2014&orderdt=24-jan-2014
  3. Following Advocates Appeared for GNCTD, time to time, in the matter pertaining to CAG Audit of DISCOMs:
Date of HC Order/ Appearance for Delhi Government Advocates Name (for Delhi Govt.) Link to HC’s Order
22.01.2014

(CM Arvind Kejriwal)

First Court hearing after Shri Kejriwal also gave Orders for CAG Audit on 28.12.2013.

Sh. Arjun Pant http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=11187&yr=2014
05.02.2014

(CM Arvind Kejriwal)

Mr. Arjun Pant http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=34074&yr=2014
18.02.2014

(Delhi under LG Rule)

 Mr. Arjun Pant, Advocate for R-2/GNCT with Ms.Alka Sharma,Dy.(Secy.) Power, Government of NCT of Delhi http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=35222&yr=2014
20.03.2014

(Delhi under LG Rule)

Mr. Arjun Pant http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=59209&yr=2014
24.03.2014

(Delhi under LG Rule)

Mr. Arjun Pant http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=65240&yr=2014
01.05.2014 Mr. Arjun Pant http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=89912&yr=2014
12.05.2015 Mr. Arjun Pant, Mr. Siddharth Luthra, Zubeda Begum http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=101856&yr=2014
16.05.2014 Mr. Arjun Pant, Zubeda Begum http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=103277&yr=2014
26.05.2014 Mr. Arjun Pant, Zubeda Begum http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=119706&yr=2014
22.07.2014

11.08.2014

09.09.2014

19.09.2014

10.10.2014

15.10.2014

03.11.2014

24.11.2014

11.12.2014

12.12.2014

18.12.2014

05.01.2015

06.01.2015

19.01.2015

(For arguments of DISCOMs, CAG & Prashant Bhushan)

(Delhi under LG Rule)

Ms. Zubeda Begum, Mr. Wasim Qadri, Arjun Pant http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhc_case_status_oj_list.asp?pno=694246
19.02.2015

(CM Arvind Kejriwal)

Arguments heard on behalf of Delhi Government

(Final Hearing)

Mr. Rajeev Dhawan, Mr. Wasim Qadri, Ms. Zubeda Begum and Mr. Rahul Mehra http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=46520&yr=2015
02.03.2015

(CM Arvind Kejriwal)

Arguments concluded by Delhi Government!

(Final Hearing)

Mr. Rajeev Dhawan, Mr. Wasim Qadri, Ms. Zubeda Begum and Mr. Rahul Mehra http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=46433&yr=2015
03.03.2015

(CM Arvind Kejriwal)

 

Mr. Wasim Qadri, Ms. Zubeda Begum and Mr. Rahul Mehra http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=46444&yr=2015
04.03.2015

(CM Arvind Kejriwal)

Mr. Wasim Qadri, Ms. Zubeda Begum http://delhihighcourt.nic.in/dhcqrydisp_o.asp?pn=49596&yr=2015

A bare perusal of the above reveals that the lawyers representing the Delhi Government remained the same, be it the 49 day Kejriwal Government or the LG Rule or the Present Government in Delhi.

In view of the proceedings explained above, it is abundantly clear that Shri Arjun Pant, Ms. Zubeida Begum and Shri Wasim Qadri were representing Delhi Government in the CAG audit cases since December, 2013 (1st AAP Government) and continued to represent Delhi Government till the final hearing on 4th March, 2015.

Further it is also underlined that the same Advocates represented the Delhi Government even during the time of LG rule in Delhi. Moreover they time to time assisted Sr. Advocated in this matter and even assisted Shri Rajiv Dhawan, Sr. Advocate engaged by the AAP Government in February this year for final arguments in the matter on behalf of Delhi government.

Therefore, we ask Shri Kejriwal that if he did not trust the wisdom of certain legal-practitioners and now wants to have a probe on them, then why did he continue to utilise their services till the very end? And would the scope of this inquiry also cover the role of the advocates engaged by Shri Kejriwal during the course of the final hearing in the matter?

To conclude, we would like to say that it is extremely unfortunate that a weak government is trying to shift the blame on certain legal practitioners, whereas, it has miserably failed to align its own law department even after 8 months of coming to power. The Consequences of such administrative impairment is being borne by the common man to whom the dream of CAG Audit and Transparency in the Electricity Sector was hard sold through political speeches by Shri Arvind Kejriwal.

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