The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has recommended a preliminary enquiry by the CBI into procurement of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi government, officials said on Thursday.
Responding to the development, the Delhi government refuted "allegations" of corruption in bus procurement and accused the BJP-led central government of "harassing" it by using the CBI.
The matter of "corruption" in annual maintenance contract (AMC) of the bus procurement by the Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) was raised by the BJP in Delhi Assembly in March this year.
A three-member committee formed by Lt Governor Anil Baijal in June had found procedural "flaws" in the AMC and recommended scrapping it.
The Lt Governor had referred the matter to the MHA in July for its consideration, the officials said.
The Delhi government was informed about the CBI probe in a letter written to Chief Secretary Vijay Dev by MHA Additional Secretary (Union Territory) Govind Mohan on August 16.
"I am writing this in connection with the purchase of 1,000 low-floor buses by the Delhi government and the report submitted by the three-member committee constituted by the Government of NCT Delhi for a detailed enquiry into the matter."
"The matter has been examined in this ministry and with the approval of competent authority, the DoPT has been requested to take necessary action for undertaking Preliminary Enquiry in the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation," said the Home Ministry letter.
Delhi BJP MLA Vijender Gupta, who had raised the matter in the Assembly, alleged there was a "scam" of thousands of crores of rupees in the bus procurement.
"The CBI enquiry has begun in the DTC bus procurement scam. The Delhi transport minister should be immediately removed and arrested," Mr Gupta said in a video message.
There is "absolutely no truth" to these allegations, said a Delhi government statement, adding a committee was already set up to investigate the matter thoroughly, which gave a "clean chit" to the government.
"It is a politically motivated conspiracy against the Aam Aadmi Party. The BJP wants to prevent the people of Delhi from getting new buses. In the past as well the central government has tried to harass the Delhi government using the CBI, but not even once has their attempt been successful because there has never been any truth to any of their allegations," it said.
The Delhi government does not believe in the politics of slander, it only believes in good governance and is committed to delivering upon its promise of good governance, added the statement.
The DTC had last year floated two separate tenders for procurement of 1,000 low floor buses, and their AMC. The procurement contract was for Rs 850 crore, while the AMC for 12 year was worth Rs 3,412 crore.
The bus procurement contract was awarded to JBM Auto and Tata Motors on a 70:30 ratio. The former was L 1 bidder in the AMC tender, officials said.
The Delhi government had put the bus procurement process on hold in June, deciding to wait for the outcome of the three-member committee formed by the LG to look into the matter.
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