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Kejriwal directs audit of Delhi Jal Board by CAG amid allegations of financial bungling

Speaking to reporters, he warned that there could be a water and sewage crisis in Delhi in the coming days owing to the non-release of funds.

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Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said the AAP government has ordered an audit of the Delhi Jal Board’s records by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to ascertain if there have been any irregularities.

Speaking to reporters, he warned that there could be a water and sewage crisis in Delhi in the coming days owing to the non-release of funds.

A couple of weeks ago, Delhi Water Minister Atishi had claimed the national capital was staring at a ”man-made water crisis” due to the stoppage of funds to the Delhi Jal Board by the Finance Department and demanded Lieutenant Governor V K Saxena’s immediate intervention in the matter.

Kejriwal said, ”We have ordered a CAG audit of the last 15 years of records of the Delhi Jal Board. The CAG is a third party and the biggest agency in the country. Things will become clearer now.” ”If someone has committed irregularities, they should be punished. If no irregularities have been committed, then those who level baseless allegations will get to know,” he added.

Asked about the fund crisis in the Delhi Jal Board and its possible impact on the ongoing work, the chief minister said, ”If the bureaucracy will not be answerable to the government, it will be impossible to run the government. There could be a water crisis and a sewage crisis due to non-release of funds.” Addressing a press conference on the issue, Atishi said strict action will be taken if any irregularities are found in the CAG audit of the DJB’s records of the last 15 years.

”Questions were raised and it was alleged that there are irregularities in the Delhi Jal Board. I want to remind them that our party has grown out of a movement against corruption. We will initiate strict action if any irregularities are found after the CAG audit,” Atishi told reporters.

”We have removed ministers from their posts when questions were raised against them and now, a CAG audit has been ordered,” she added.

On the delay by the Finance Department in releasing funds to the DJB, Atishi said that the matter is subjudice and that it happened because of ”officers neglecting directions”.

”Even after giving directions twice to the Finance Department, funds are not being released. The matter is in the court now,” she said.

Delhi Jal Board vice-chairman Somnath Bharti welcomed the government’s decision to order an audit.

”There cannot be a better thing than this. This reflects the transparency of the Delhi government… the chief minister himself ordered a CAG audit. This proves the honesty of the AAP government and our leader Arvind Kejriwal.

”This also thwarts the attempt to politicise the Delhi Jal Board. In the DJB, we all have been working hard to serve the people of Delhi but the BJP has been trying to raise issues that have no merit. So now, the CAG audit will make everything clear,” Bharti told PTI.

The BJP and the AAP have been sparring over alleged irregularities in the Delhi Jal Board since last month. The BJP has accused the DJB of running a ”scam” of awarding bogus tenders for the upgradation of its sewage treatment plants.

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