New Delhi: On January 13, Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena asked for the removal of these nominees and replace them with Senior Government Officers, as had been the practice in the past. Alleging “total violation of Constitutional provisions” by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Government in illegal appointment of private individuals as Government nominees on the Board of Anil Ambani-owned DISCOMs BRPL (BSES Rajdhani Power Limited) and BYPL (BSES Yamuna Power Limited).
Nominees AAP Spokesperson Jasmine Shah, Naveen ND Gupta (son of AAP MP, ND Gupta), Umesh Tyagi and JS Deswal are included.
As per the statement from Raj Niwas, their nomination to the Boards of the DISCOMs was patently illegal since the due process of law was not followed and their appointment was void ab initio. The LG has taken these decisions on the basis of an inquiry report submitted by the Delhi Power Department and the Chief Secretary in light of a complaint dated September 26, 2022.
These compromised nominees provided undue financial benefits running into thousands of crores to Ambani’s DISCOMs, at the cost of the State exchequer and Delhi Government-run undertakings (DTL, IPGCL and PPCL). LG has asked for Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to be informed about this and action be taken.
It has been brought out in the report that, these private individuals were illegally appointed surreptitiously by the AAP Government as ‘Government nominees’ on the Board 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.
Earlier in 2017, Chief Minister Kejriwal had sent a file proposing their appointment as Government nominees, disposing of 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 as per clause 4 of Article 239AA of the Constitution of India. However, the Cabinet took a decision to appoint them and instead of sending the file to LG, Baijal, who would have invoked the said clause, surreptitiously notified the appointment of these private individuals as Government nominees on the Board of the DISCOMs.
The statement added, once appointed these Government nominees rather than taking care of the Government interests, in cahoots with the Anil Ambani nominees on the Board, facilitated a decision of the DISCOMs Boards of unilaterally lowering interest rates charged on LPSC (that these DISCOMs owed to DTL/PPCL/IGPCL), from 15-18 per cent to 12 per cent, thereby causing a loss of Rs 8683.67 crore.
It may be noted that the Delhi Government has 49 per cent shares in these private DISCOMs and as per Article VI of the shareholder’s agreement, the Government nominees on its Boards have the veto right to block any inappropriate proposal that is detrimental to the state finances.
Moreover, these private nominees instead of protecting the interests of GNCTD, acted in collusion with the private companies to serve the financial interests of DISCOMs. The LG has also asked the Directorate of Vigilance to investigate the omission/commission noted on part of these private individuals acting as Government nominees, from the angle of any possible quid pro quo.
Not only this, but to circumvent any adverse impact, they facilitated the deferring of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) that was scheduled to take place on September 27, 2022, where the issue of unilateral reduction of LPSC would have been discussed by absenting themselves. They did so by absenting themselves and letting BRPL and BYPL, take the false ground of ‘lack of quorum’ in deferring the AGM.
In addition to this, in conspiratorial collusion with the other Ambani-nominated members of the BRPL and BYPL Board, these 04 Government nominees passed a resolution on September 18, 2022, for granting extension for holding the AGMs, thereby providing an opportunity to BRPL & BYPL to obtain a status quo order from the Supreme Court on September 28, 2022, just a day before the scheduled AGM on September 29.
The LG in his order has also directed the Power Department to take immediate and concerted efforts to get the status quo order of the Supreme Court vacated at the earliest and undertake any other legal action as deemed fit under applicable laws to ensure recovery of outstanding dues from the DISCOMs.
The report submitted by the Power Department and the Chief Secretary has inter alia, also brought out that the AAP Government in Delhi instead of recovering its outstanding dues of Rs 21,250 crore on account of default in payment for power purchased by defaulting vendor DISCOMs (BRPL and BYPL) from State-owned Power Generation Companies, and debarring it from further business in Delhi, got into a cozy deal with the BRPL and BYPL by way of agreeing to let them settle their outstanding dues against future payments to be made to them by the Government in shape of subsidy reimbursements for supposedly free power that they provided to the consumers. This amounted to a sum of Rs 11,550 crore being settled as reimbursements, Raj Niwas statement said.
Referring to the report, the Raj Niwas said AAP Government violated its own Cabinet decision of 2015-16, which entailed that an Audit of BRPL and BYPL be conducted every year for electricity subsidies paid to them by the Delhi Government and allowed for no Audit to be done even as payments amounting to Rs 11,500 crore kept getting settled in favour of BRPL and BYPL.
It further alleged that the AAP Government blocked the implementation of DBT in the disbursal of power subsidy to the people in contravention of DERC order of 2018, with the sole aim of concealing the actual number of subsidy beneficiaries and thereby paying unverified amounts to these DISCOMs, paving the way for kick-backs and commissions.
(with inputs from ANI)