The Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, V.K. Saxena, on Friday sought the removal of private individuals nominated by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government from the board of DISCOMs (BRPL & BYPL), terming the appointments as “grossly illegal” and “in total violation” of Constitutional provisions.
Accordingly, Saxena has sought the removal of Jasmine Shah, Naveen Gupta, Umesh Tyagi and J.S. Deswal from the DISCOMs board, who should be replaced by senior government officials, as has been the practice in the past, the L-G office said on Friday.
“Their nomination to the board of the DISCOMs was patently illegal since due process of law was not followed and their appointment was void ab initio,” the L-G said.
Saxena has taken the decision 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 the DISCOMs, at the cost of the state exchequer and Delhi government-run undertakings (DTL, IPGCL & PPCL). The L-G has asked for the CM (Arvind Kejriwal) to be informed about this and action be taken,” a source in the L-G office said.
“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 ((BSES Rajdhani Power Limited) and BYPL (BSES Yamuna Power Limited) in 2019, despite written objections on file by then L-G Najeeb Jung on 01.11.2016 and L-G Anil Baijal on 11.08.2017. In 2017, CM Kejriwal had sent a file proposing their appointment as government nominees, disposing 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,” the source said.
The official added, “However, the cabinet took a decision to appoint them and instead of sending the file to L-G 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.
“Once appointed, these government nominees rather than taking care of the government interests facilitated a decision of the DISCOM board 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 stake in these private DISCOMs and as per Article VI of the shareholders agreement, the government nominees on its board have the veto right to block any inappropriate proposal that is detrimental to the state’s finances.
“However, these private nominees, instead of protecting the interests of GNCTD, acted in collusion with private companies to serve the financial interests of DISCOMs.”
The L-G has also asked the Directorate of Vigilance to investigate the omission or commission noted on the part of these private individuals acting as government nominees, from the angle of any possible quid pro quo.