Khurana remarks short on facts: Maken

NEW DELHI SEPT. 26 . Accusing the Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party president, Madan Lal Khurana, of spreading lies and misleading people, the Power Minister, Ajay Maken, today demanded that he apologise to the people for making such baseless allegations. He said that what was being termed as a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report was an interim draft on which queries had been asked from the Delhi Government and to which replies had been sent.

Not ruling out the possibility of somebody within the Government leaking the contents of the report, the Power Minister said not everyone was happy about the privatisation of power, which had led to improvement in the situation. It is possible that the draft interim report, circulated among around 40 people, has been leaked out by some vested interests. But what was most shocking is that despite being a two-time Union Minister and his colleague, Vijay Kumar Malhotra, presently in Parliament, they had failed to realise that there are no interim CAG reports and they had been misled by their own source on the issue. This is not the CAG report; it is only an interim draft on which the Government viewpoint has been sought which was a routine affair.

Stating that the entire privatisation of power had been approved by the Union Ministry of Disinvestment and the Central Vigilance Commission, which gone into the issue of corruption or misuse in any transaction, Mr. Maken said Mr. Khurana has been coming out with some misleading statement or the other but that has failed to cut ice with the people. Regarding the allegation that the Delhi Government paid excess funds for engaging consultants, Mr. Maken said Rs. 3.75 crores was paid to SBI Caps, a Government of India undertaking, as consultancy fee. The same company had done the consultancy for privatisation of power in Kanpur and was engaged by the BJP-led Government in Uttar Pradesh. In addition to this, the Union Power Ministry under the Vajpayee Government had paid Rs. 305 crores for consultancy services to World Bank for the failed privatisation experiment in Orissa. "What has Mr. Khurana to say about these facts?" he asked

Interestingly, even the President, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, had praised the privatisation of power in his Presidential address to the Parliament, the draft of which is approved by the Union Cabinet. He accused Mr. Khurana of deliberately projecting the whole facts in parts and not coming out clearly on the issue. He said the people of Delhi were very happy with the privatisation of power and some vested interests including some disgruntled politicians were opposing such a good step and pleading the case of erstwhile corrupt and inefficient Delhi Vidyut Board. On the issue of Rs.79 crores raised against the raw material in stores, Mr.Maken said the opinion of the Law Department had been taken on the issue and it had given the go ahead for raising only this sum. The Government will not leave any dues and take whatever is to be claimed, he added.

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