New Delhi: The Anti Corruption Branch (ACB) of Delhi Police has launched a probe into the premium bus service scheme notified by the Arvind Kejriwal government, allegedly without obtaining the permission of Lt Governor Najeeb Jung, a development that could trigger a fresh bout of sparring between the two.
ACB chief MK Meena said that the probe has been launched on the complaint of Leader of Opposition in the Delhi Assembly Vijender Gupta, who has alleged that the government is "trying to benefit" a Gurugram based private bus aggregator.
"There are allegations that no prior approval of Lt Governor was sought before launch of the scheme and that it was aimed at benefiting a private company," he said.
The premium bus service scheme was notified on 20 May.
"The Lt Governor of National Capital Territory of Delhi is pleased to notify that all premium buses which ply in Delhi in
conformity with guidelines specified in the app-based premium bus services scheme shall be deemed to be used for the purpose of reducing pollution and shall be exempted from provision of sub section (1) of Section 66 of the said Act (Motor Vehicle Act 1998) to such an extent as may be necessary for operation of such buses," read the notification signed by Delhi Transport Commissioner Sanjay Kumar.
Citing media reports Gupta said in his complaint that the Lt Governor's office had clarified on 28 May that no "approval" was given by him for the premium bus service.
"It calls for criminal probe into how the AAP government under the signature of Secretary-cum-Commissioner (Transport) could misuse Lt Governor's name in this manner," he said.
The Leader of Opposition alleged the AAP government "seems to be in extraordinary hurry to approve the Premium Bus Service Scheme and the procedure adopted leaves many questions unanswered."
The entire scheme has been "designed to favour one particular Gurgaon-based bus aggregator platform that is already "illegally operating contract carriage buses in Delhi" as on date also, Gupta claimed in his complaint.
The rules and regulations were "deliberately bypassed" that "smack of malafide intentions" of the decision making authorities in the government, he alleged.
"The manner in which the decision was approved in the Cabinet without bothering to ensure that the due procedure was followed leaves no one in doubt that there was criminal intention to provide unprecedented benefit to the private operator," he alleged.
"The government in place of penalizing an operator who is flouting law with impunity has chosen to legalize the system. It smacks of a big scam," he alleged and demanded a thorough investigation into all aspects of the scheme and its notification.