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Delhi’s transport commissioner denies minister’s allegation of working for touts

Varsha Joshi, the transport commissioner, had reportedly denied any wrongdoings in functioning of Burari Transport Authority, in reply to a question raised by Gahlot ahead of Delhi Assembly’s monsoon session.

delhi Updated: Aug 06, 2018 12:15 IST
Soumya Pillai
Soumya Pillai
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Delhi,Delhi transport commissioner,Delhi govt
File photo of Delhi’s transport commissioner Varsha Joshi. (Vipin Kumar / HT File Photo )

Senior IAS officer Varsha Joshi has denied allegations made by state transport minister Kailash Gahlot that she worked for touts. She took to Twitter on Sunday to make the clarification.

The move came a day after a joint forum of Delhi government’s transport department’s officials accused Gahlot of misbehaving with transport commissioner Joshi.

Joshi, representing the transport department, had reportedly denied any wrongdoings in functioning of Burari Transport Authority, in reply to a question raised by Gahlot ahead of Delhi Assembly’s monsoon session.

Gahlot apparently refused to accept Joshi’s response and allegedly asked her to leave the meeting while accusing her of ‘trying to save touts.’

“The idea of a Transport Commissioner — any Transport Commissioner — protecting touts is beyond laughable,” Joshi said on Twitter.

She added that as transport commissioner she has initiated systems, such as online tracking of registration certificate, file movements and home delivery of registration certificates through speed post. The officer also raised questions on the credibility of the man who had complained to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal about the problem of touts at the authority during a surprise inspection last month.

Joshi said that the complainant was a “notorious tout” against whom action, including FIRs, has been taken in the past and questioned how he had entered the authority when the chief minister was inside .

Transport minister Gahlot, on his part, said that the issue was being blown out of proportion.

“The claims are mere exaggerations. It is my responsibility towards the House and to the people who have elected us to present facts before the Assembly,” said Gahlot.

The Delhi unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday hit out at Kejriwal and the AAP for allegedly misbehaving with the transport commissioner.

“On one hand, Kejriwal is trying to portray that women are unsafe under BJP rule. On the other hand, his minister was humiliating an IAS officer for speaking on corruption at Burari transport authority. Joshi is being harassed for seeking transparency in the proposed Rs 2,500 crore bus deal Gahlot is trying to rush through,” Manoj Tiwari, president Delhi BJP, said.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said that the Burari transport authority had become a “den of corruption”. A statement issued by the party alleged that the touts cannot have a free run in transport authorities “without the connivance of transport department officers”.

AAP’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj on Sunday said that when the chief minister along with Joshi visited Burari, people openly complained about the wide spread corruption there. He also said that Joshi’s allegations, that the complainant is a tout, “did not make sense”.

“Why would a tout complain about the problem of touts there? Why would touts stay back in the premise when the CM is conducting an inspection in the first place?,” he asked.

First Published: Aug 06, 2018 12:14 IST