Permit scam: 3 Delhi officials get the boot

The Delhi government on Saturday suspended three transport officials over an alleged autorickshaw permit scam, triggering demands for Transport Minister Gopal Rai’s resignation.

The Opposition BJP has requested Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to seek a report from the transport department on the issue.

Rai said he received some complaints on Wednesday about irregularities in distribution of Letter of Intents (LOIs) for new autorickshaws at the Burari Authority of Transport Department. A day later, Rai ordered a probe after meeting the joint commissioner (transport) and other senior officers.

“The matter has been referred to the vigilance department for further enquiry. On the basis of the vigilance committee report, the matter could also be referred to the CBI for investigation,” he said.

The suspension of three government officials came only after Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting with his Cabinet ministers and senior government officials on Saturday. According to a government statement, Kejriwal on Friday evening had received SMS from some autorickshaw-drivers about the alleged irregularities.

The suspended officials—Deputy Commissioner (auto rickshaw unit) Roy Biswas, inspector Manish Puri and Anil Yadav, a clerk—issued the LOIs on a pick-and-choose basis despite orders from the transport minister to follow a chronological order, a preliminary inquiry in the matter has revealed. It is also alleged that the LOIs were being handed over to certain intermediaries instead of the applicants.

The AAP government has revoked all 932 LOIs issued by the transport department till date.

“Aam Aadmi Party is doing  cover up by suspending 3 officers. Minister Gopal Rai should RESIGN as he is involved in Auto Permit Scam,” the Delhi BJP said on Twitter. The party said it will launch a protest against him on Monday at the Delhi Secretariat.
DH News Service

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