NEW DELHI: Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal held a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior bureaucrats early on Saturday morning and decided to scrap nearly 1000 autorickshaw permits in Delhi after alleged irregularities in their allotment. The Delhi government also suspended three officials of the transport department, including a senior bureaucrat, in the matter and decided not to issue any more permits for the time being.
The officials – identified as S Roy Biswas, Deputy Commissioner, Manish Puri, Inspector, and Anil Yadav, a clerk — were placed under suspension immediately after the high-level meeting, at 8 am, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has said the matter would be handed over to the CBI. “The matter would be handed over to the CBI. This government cannot tolerate corruption at any level,” he tweeted. The alleged irregularities have the BJP demanding Transport Minister Gopal Rai’s resignation. The Party’s Delhi unit will hold a protest outside the Delhi Secretariat on Monday.
Some autorickshaw drivers had reportedly sent text messages to Mr Kejriwal last evening after he made a call to Mr Rai. Officials said the transport minister had already made preliminary enquiries in the matter and found out two types of irregularities – the permits or Letters of Intent were issued on a pick and choose basis against the rules and that these were being handed over to intermediaries or unauthorised persons instead of the applicants.
Mr Rai has said he had ordered an inquiry immediately after he received complaints on December 23. The alleged irregularities have surfaced as the government in Delhi prepares to launch the odd-even formula for cars from January 1 and augment public transport to fill in for the cars taken off the capital’s roads. The transport department is the nodal agency for implementing the grand plan. The government has decided to put the process of issuing permits on hold.