Delhi LG Vinai Kumar Saxena has ordered a probe into the alleged irregularities in the power subsidy scheme of the Aam Aadmi Party dispensation, prompting a strong response from Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal who linked it to the Gujarat polls and claimed the move aimed at stalling the free electricity initiative.
According to sources at the LG office, chief secretary Naresh Kumar has been asked to conduct an inquiry and submit a report within a week.
Saxena's action followed a complaint filed at the LG secretariat which raised issues of "impropriety and discrepancies" in the power subsidy scheme of the Kejriwal government, the sources said.
"The LG has asked the chief secretary to conduct an inquiry into alleged irregularities in the power subsidy amount given by the AAP government to BSES discoms and sought a report within seven days," a source at the LG office said.
The LG has also asked the chief secretary to probe the non-implementation of power subsidy payment to consumers through direct benefit transfer as ordered by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission in 2018, the sources said.
Chief Minister Kejriwal linked the probe to the assembly polls in Gujarat, where he is engaged in hectic campaigning, and alleged the Bharatiya Janata Party was trying to obstruct the free power scheme of his government.
He said the AAP's "free electricity guarantee" has been received "very well" by the people of Gujarat.
"That's why the BJP wants to stop free electricity in Delhi," Kejriwal said.
"But have faith in me," Kejriwal said in a tweet addressed to the people of Delhi.
"I will not allow your free power to be stopped at any cost."
He also assured the people of Gujarat "your power will also be free from March 1" if the AAP forms a government there.
The LG office sources said the complainants including eminent lawyers and jurists have alleged there was a "massive scam" in the subsidy scheme.
No immediate reaction was available from the BSES over the charges.
The complainants have alleged the AAP government, instead of recovering the dues of Rs 21,200 crore allegedly owed by the BSES discoms for power purchased by them from state generation companies, allowed them(discoms) to settle their outstanding through subsidy reimbursements, the sources said.
It was also alleged the discoms were allowed to charge late payment surcharge at a rate of 18 per cent from consumers while they themselves paid LPSC at 12 per cent to the Delhi government owned power generation companies.
"In the process, the discoms were provided a windfall gain of Rs 8,500 crore at the cost of the state exchequer," alleged the complainants.
Another allegation was that implementation of direct benefit transfer for subsidy payment to consumers, as directed by DERC, was blocked by the AAP government with the aim of "concealing" the actual number of subsidy beneficiaries and thereby paying "unverified amounts" to the discoms.