Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Wednesday (6 December) that he has instructed the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India to conduct an audit of the Delhi Jal Board's accounts for the past 15 years.
This comes after the finance department's objections and concerns about financial irregularities and mismanagement.
Water Minister Atishi stated that the finance department has expressed worries about financial mismanagement, yet they have not identified particular cases of financial misconduct or responsible officials. This necessitates the need for a CAG Audit.
The auditing by the CAG is conducted in line with Section 69 of the DJB Act and Section 19(3) of the CAG (Duties, Power and Conditions of Services) Act.
Here's a brief timeline of the case:
30 November 2023
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) protested near the Delhi Jal Board headquarters in Jhandewalan, accusing the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)-led government of indulging in corruption and irregularities in the water utility.
27 November 2023
BJP national spokesperson Gaurav Bhatia alleged a scam related to Delhi Jal Board in Sewage Treatment Plants's work where estimated cost was Rs 1,500 crore but contracts worth Rs 1,938 crore were awarded.
21 November 2023
Atishi sought suspension of and disciplinary action against Finance Secretary Ashish C Verma for allegedly stoping funds to Delhi Jal Board over accusations of irregularities.
18 November 2023
Union Minister Meenakashi Lekhi alleged a difference of Rs. 166 crores in the financial statements of the bank and Delhi Jal Board and that there is a scam of Rs. 3,753 under various heads.
23 September 2023
Delhi Lieutenant Governor VK Saxena ordered a police inquiry against officials of the Delhi Jal Board, a private bank, and a company for allegedly embezzling Rs 20 crore in water bills.
20 February 2023
The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) of the Delhi Police arrested Jal Board Joint Director Naresh Singh under allegations of siphoning off Rs 20 crore through fake water bills.
13 February 2023
Madhur Verma, Joint CP and Head of the Anti-Corruption Branch in Delhi stated that an investigation led by the Vigilance Department of Delhi Jal Board has uncovered misappropriation of funds exceeding Rs 20 crore by private individuals in collusion with Corporation Bank (now Union Bank of India).
CAG informed the Delhi High Court that the Delhi Jal Board did not provide its accounts for audit despite several written correspondences. This was in response to a plea by BJP alleging no audit was done in the last six years.
Earlier, it was reported that the CAG had written to the Delhi government over 22 times about an audit of the board but no reply was given.
Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.
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