Two DERC members — one retired and another still serving — have come under the dock for allegedly misusing their positions to benefit power distribution companies (discoms) on power tariff hike issue.
Hearing a petition, Delhi Lokayukta justice Manmohan Sarin served notices to SR Sethi and Shyam Wadhera on Thursday for allegedly reversing their earlier stand of seeking a cut in power tariff to favour a hike in it under the influence of private discoms and the Delhi government.
While Wadhera is still a member, Sethi retired from Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission (DERC) in January.
The complainant in his petition has alleged that although the members had earlier agreed to slash the tariff while preparing the annual tariff schedule for the year 2010-11, they later changed their stand on the issue and did not even cooperate with DERC chief Berjinder Singh due to which the revised tariff could not be announced.
After Singh retired as DERC chairman, the two members later wrote a letter to the Delhi government and justified the demands of the private distribution companies for hiking the existing tariff.
In an unusual move, Delhi government had issued a notification in May 2010 stalling the DERC's decision to lower the annual tariff for 2010-11 by 20-25% till it re-examines the demands from discoms to increase the rates.
The regulator had later sent a reply to the government notification justifying the commission's intention to cut down the tariff. The solicitor general Gopal Subrahmanium held that the government notification asking DERC not to pass the tariff order amounted to putting "fetters on quasi-judicial function" of the regulator. The government had, however, rejected the DERC chairman's reply as it was not signed by the other two members.
The complainant in his petition submitted that non-issuance of tariff order despite clear legal advice of the solicitor general amounted to abuse of power for "corrupt and improper motives" to benefit the discoms which also demonstrated their lack of faithfulness to adjudicatory duties.