CBI probe in purchase of 1,000 buses


New Delhi [India]: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has requested the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) to conduct a preliminary inquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged irregularities in the purchase of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi government, said MHA on Thursday.

In a letter dated August 16, MHA’s Additional Secretary Govind Mohan said, “I am writing this in connection with the purchase of 1,000 low floor buses by Delhi government and the report submitted by the three-member committee constituted by the Govt of NCT Delhi for a detailed inquiry into the matter.”
“The matter has been examined in this ministry and with the approval of the competent authority, the DoPT has been requested to take necessary action for undertaking preliminary inquiry in the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” the letter read.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Delhi had put on hold its plan to procure 1,000 air-conditioned (AC) low-floor buses through the state-run Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), three months after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained to the city’s Anti-Corruption Branch (ACB) and Lieutenant Governor (L-G) Anil Baijal about the allegedly high cost of the annual maintenance contract (AMC) of these buses.

On March 12, seven BJP MLAs, led by Vijender Gupta, complained to the ACB that the Delhi government plans to spend Rs 875 crore to procure 1,000 new buses. In addition, the government is ready to pay nearly Rs 3,500 crore only for the annual maintenance of these new buses for 12 years. The BJP MLAs asked how the cost of maintaining the new buses could be higher than their purchase.

Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot, however, then said the warranty of these new buses does not cover at least 71 parts, for which a separate tender for AMC was required.

Gahlot refuted the claims and said by putting the procurement of 1,000 buses on hold, the Delhi government showed it is a transparent administration and is open to scrutiny.

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