A Centre-appointed committee has given a clean chit to the Delhi government in procurement of buses and this is the proof of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's honest politics, said his deputy Manish Sisodia on Saturday. The three-member panel, that included transport and vigilance commissioners of the Delhi government, was formed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal last month. It submitted its report to Baijal on July 8, officials said.
The BJP has been accusing the Kejriwal government of being involved in a scam in the annual maintenance contract of 1,000 low-floor buses to be procured by its agency, the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC). Sisodia said the committee analysed 3,000 documents and raised several queries, after which they have concluded that the Kejriwal government was not involved in any scam in the procurement of buses.
"A Centre-appointed committee has said there was no scam. This is a proof that Kejriwal is honest. Kejriwal works for those who choose him and doesn't indulge in fighting like BJP. Buses will be bought despite obstacles being created by the BJP. BJP should be ashamed that they accuse a leader like Kejriwal. They should apologize to Delhi's people," he said. The bus procurement process was put on hold by the Transport department due to the enquiry by the LG appointed committee.
The BJP however said the report by the panel has established that there was a scam in it. Hitting out at the Aam Aadmi Party for claiming that its government has got a clean chit in the matter, the BJP accused it of “misleading" the people.
“The ruling AAP is misguiding (people) by claiming that the committee has inquired into the procurement process of the DTC buses and has given it a clean chit," said a BJP MLA who had raised the issue in the Delhi Assembly earlier this year. The committee focussed on the annual maintenance contract (AMC) of 1,000 buses being procured by DTC which it has clearly stated in its report, Vijender Gupta said in a press conference.
“After finding the AMC process and contract faulty, the committee has suggested scrapping of the deal entirely," he claimed.
“The findings of the committee establishes the open loot perpetrated in the AMC contract for the new DTC buses. The entire deal was meant to favour two companies as a quid pro quo and to siphon off Rs 3,500 crore from taxpayers’ money," Gupta alleged. The committee found “grave violations" of General Financial Rules, 2017, in the maintenance contract of the buses, Gupta said while sharing a document which he claimed was a copy of the panel’s report.
“The government ensured that only two companies could take part in the tendering process of the AMC contract. It did not set any benchmark price in the request for proposal. There is no record of any internal cost assessment for benchmark bids against an estimation," Gupta alleged. These companies were to be given Rs 30 crore every month even when all the infrastructure requirements, bus driver, conductor, fuel are being ensured by the DTC, while other requirements are being fulfilled under warranty, he claimed.
“This was being done without any due diligence or assessment of a reasonable cost. The panel recommended that the bid for AMC of buses be scrapped. It also suggested a fresh bid for AMC with relevant service level agreements and ensuring wider participation," the BJP MLA said.