Delhiites' demand to get power companies' accounts audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) gained momentum on the second day of the public hearing on tariff petitions, as more Resident Welfare Associations (RWAs) thronged the hearing to lay stress on their objections.
Emboldened by the alleged discrepancies in the petitions and audited accounts — as highlighted by several residents after thorough scrutiny — they said that the veracity of the figures furnished by the private companies was now in doubt.
"We should wait for the audit and till then, there should be no upward revision in the power tariff," said BS Vohra, president of East Delhi Residents' Welfare Association Joint Front.
"Prevalent public support for the fight against corruption in India extends to this tariff process as well," said Amit Aggarwal, RWA member of Vasant Kunj.
What is empowering the demand is the fact that it was the DERC, which, in July 2010, had advised the Delhi government that a CAG audit should be carried out, as it was the best way to end the "several claims and counter-claims available in the audited accounts."
But the discoms are not willing to budge.
"Our accounts are fair and audited as per the law. The law does not permit the CAG to audit us. If the law is changed, we will comply," Sunil Wadhwa, managing director, North Delhi Power Limited told reporters in front of protesting residents outside DERC office.
BSES has said that since it is a private company without any funding from the government, it cannot be audited by the CAG.
It's pertinent to note here that the Delhi government holds 49% stake in the three discoms.
Also, the CAG has, in the past, audited the private telecom companies. Meanwhile, tempers ran high both during and outside the public hearing.
BSES CEO Gopal Saxena got engaged in an altercation with Patparganj resident SK Maheshwari, calling the latter an offender of power theft, even as DERC chief P Sudhakar intervened to put a stop to it.
Outside, Sunil Wadhwa was seen engaged in an argument with Lajpat Nagar resident Hemantha Sharma and others, as residents pointed out the discrepancies. However, Wadhwa as well as BSES officials said that all allegations were baseless and taken out of context.