Delhi: Centre recommends CBI inquiry into DTC low-floor bus scam
Starting another round of the fight between BJP headed Central Government and AAP-headed Delhi State Government, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday has recommended a preliminary inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the procurement and annual maintenance contract of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi Government. In April 2021, CBI has registered a case against Delhi Government’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-headed Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) for siphoning more than Rs.200 crore from Bank of Baroda’s deposits.
Responding to the development, the Delhi Government refuted “allegations” of corruption in bus procurement and accused the BJP-led central government of “harassing” it by using the CBI. The matter of “corruption” in the annual maintenance contract (AMC) of the bus procurement by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) was raised by the BJP in Delhi Assembly in March this year. In June, a three-member committee formed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal had found procedural “flaws” in the AMC and recommended scrapping it. The LG had referred the matter to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in July for its consideration, the officials said.
It is a politically motivated conspiracy against the Aam Aadmi Party. The BJP wants to prevent the people of Delhi from getting new buses. says AAP
The Delhi Government was informed about the CBI probe in a letter written to Chief Secretary Vijay Dev by MHA Additional Secretary (Union Territory) Govind Mohan on August 16. Delhi BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, who had raised the matter in the Assembly, alleged there was a “scam” of thousands of crores of rupees in the bus procurement.
“It is a politically motivated conspiracy against the Aam Aadmi Party. The BJP wants to prevent the people of Delhi from getting new buses. In the past as well the Central government has tried to harass the Delhi government using the CBI, but not even once has their attempt been successful because there has never been any truth to any of their allegations,” said AAP in a statement.
Last year, the DTC had floated two separate tenders for the procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses and their AMC. The procurement contract was for Rs.850 crore, while the AMC for 12 years was worth Rs.3,412 crore. The bus procurement contract was awarded to JBM Auto and Tata Motors on a 70:30 ratio. The former was L 1 bidder in the AMC tender, officials said.
The Delhi government had put the bus procurement process on hold in June, deciding to wait for the outcome of the three-member committee formed by the LG to look into the matter.
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