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Discoms' audit: High Court to hear plea March 20

Posted on Feb 18 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Feb 18 : The Delhi High Court Tuesday fixed March 20 for the final hearing a PIL seeking a CAG audit of the national capital's three power distribution companiessince their inception in 2002.

A division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Jayant Nath adjourned the hearing and fixed the matter for final hearing saying it is a "very important issue".

The PIL was filed Feb 2011 by the United RWAs Joint Action (URJA) though advocate Prashant Bhushan that sought, besides the compulsory audit, an investigation by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into allegations of fraudulent practices and manipulation of records by the three discoms - Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd. (TPDDL), BSES Yamuna Power Ltd. and BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd.

The Kejriwal government had ordered the discoms must be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

Earlier, filing its reply, the Sheila Dikshit-led Congress government had told the court in November 2011 it does not have the power to request an audit of the companies as there are no provisions in the Electricity Act, 2003 or the Tariff Policy of 2000 to refer the audit of private companies to the CAG. It, however, said an occasional CAG audit may be done.

In its plea, URJA had said the three discoms are substantially financed by grants or loans from the Consolidated Fund of India, which it argued brings them within the jurisdiction of the CAG under Section 14 of the CAG Act.

The court had earlier asked the government to explain why their accounts should not be audited by the CAG while hearing a petition which alleged the state government succumbed to pressure of the discoms, which wanted a hike in power tariff by faking losses.

The plea said under the pressure of discoms, the state government intervened in the functioning of the DERC which failed to fix the tariff for 2011-12.

DERC chairperson had recommended a 20 per cent reduction in power tariff, claiming the discoms had made a profit of Rs.3,577 crore. However, the tariff order was stalled by the Delhi government even before it could be issued.

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