New Delhi: The Delhi government on Saturday suspended three transport department officials over alleged corruption in issuing fresh Letters Of Intents (LOIs) for three-wheelers. BJP’s Delhi unit chief Satish Upadhyay demanded state Transport Minister Gopal Rai’s resignation over the alleged auto-rickshaw permit scam.
The three officials — Deputy Commissioner (auto-rickshaw unit) Roy Biswas, inspector Manish Puri, and Anil Yadav, a clerk — were placed under suspension with immediate effect after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday morning.
Transport Minister Gopal Rai in a statement said he received some complaints on Wednesday over irregularities in issuance of LOIs to auto drivers at the transport department’s Burari authority.
“I held a meeting with the joint commissioner (transport) and other senior officers on the next day (Thursday), and issued directions to enquire into the matter,” Rai said.
Kejriwal received an SMS from some auto-rickshaw drivers regarding certain irregularities in distribution of LoIs on Friday evening.
The chief minister convened a meeting with his cabinet ministers and senior government officials on Saturday, leading to suspension of the three officials.
Reacting to the issue, Delhi BJP chief Upadhyay asked Rai to resign.
“We have requested Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung to seek a report from the transport department on the issue and the investigation should be handed over to the Anti-Corruption Branch,” Upadhyay said.
Upadhyay said Kejriwal was also involved in the scam and the BJP would protest against him on Monday at the Delhi Secretariat.
“The Kejriwal government is completely involved in corruption and it has increased so much that this government is playing fraud with its own supporters, the auto drivers of Delhi,” he said.
He said that previously corruption was committed through touts in the transport department, but now their place has been taken by volunteers and legislators of the AAP.
Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) backed the government’s move and said the party was “proud of the government”.
AAP’s media coordinator Deepak Bajpai said: “We are so proud of the government that it swiftly takes action against corruption. The CM just got a message regarding the corruption being done in the department and he swiftly acted against people involved.”
“This sends a clear message that the government will not spare anyone involved in the corruption,” he added.
The transport minister had made a preliminary enquiry in which two kinds of irregularities were revealed — the LOIs were issued on pick-and-choose basis despite orders of the minister to follow chronological order and the LOIs were being handed over to certain intermediaries/unauthorised people instead of beneficiaries/applicants.
All 932 LOIs issued by the transport department till date have been scrapped, and the exercise of issuing LOIs has been put on hold.
“The matter has been referred to the vigilance department of the Delhi government for further inquiry. The matter will be referred to the CBI for investigation if so warranted on the basis of report of vigilance department,” Rai added.