Discoms get SC notice on CAG audit

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to three private power distribution companies on separate petitions filed by Delhi government and NGO United RWAs Joint Action challenging a High Court order declining a plea for their audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).

A bench presided over by Justice J Chelamswar asked the three discoms – Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL), BSES Rajdhani Power Ltd and BSES Yamuna Power Ltd – to file their responses within four weeks and listed the matter for final hearing on March 2.

Besides the Delhi government and NGO United RWAs Joint Action (URJA), the CAG also questioned the Delhi High Court’s decision holding that the discoms cannot be audited by the CAG.

The HC had on October 30 quashed the Delhi government’s direction of January 07 for audit of discoms by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. It further held the CAG audit for determination of tariff was not expedient in public interest as it was the sole domain of Delhi Electrcity Regulatory Commission (DERC). The CAG audit of discoms has no place in the regulatory regime brought about by the Electricity Act and the Reforms Act, it further noted. 

Assailing the decision, the petitioners contended that the HC failed to appreciate that during unbundling of the Delhi Vidyut Board, the assets of government was transferred to the private discoms at throw-away prices and loans of several crores were waived off to make the system of generation and distribution of electricity workable.

The petition by advocate Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the NGO contended, “The DERC, upon which the HC places abundant reliance for carrying the work of tariff determination has itself thwarted the process and has made complete mockery of it. Fraudulent manipulation of records by the discoms has resulted into huge loss, not only to the public exchequer but also to the consumers of electricity in Delhi”.

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