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HC refrains from staying CAG’s exit conference

Delhi high court on Monday refused to restrain CAG from holding an ‘exit conference’ to discuss its draft audit report with a <g data-gr-id="34">discom</g> operated by Tata Power in the national Capital, saying any step taken on the final report would be subject to its order.

The ‘exit conference’, which is a discussion between parties and the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) over the draft audit report before it is finalised, with Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPDDL) was held as per schedule today.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, however, made it clear that any steps taken against TPDDL would be “subject to further orders”.

“Let the exit conference go on. However, all the steps if taken will be subject to further orders of this court,” the bench said.

“We are protecting your (TPDDL) interest. In any case, they won’t be able to finalise the final report,” the court said and fixed the matter for further hearing on October 30.

TPDDL’s application was moved in the main petition filed by it along with BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani, against the AAP government’s decision to get their accounts audited by the CAG, in which the court had reserved its judgment on March 4.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for TPDDL, while seeking relief, contended that “no reasonable opportunity has been granted to them to controvert or verify the data sought to be analysed by the CAG.” 

He said the exit conference sought to be conducted by CAG on Monday would have no legal sanctity till the time the <g data-gr-id="36">discom</g> has been granted a real and reasonable opportunity to verify the contents of the full Draft Audit Report (DAR) and respond to the reasoning sought to be adopted by CAG.

The court, however, said it has already directed BSES Yamuna and BSES Rajdhani to participate in the conference, to be held from October 12 to 14, with whatever information is available with them.
After this, TPDDL’s counsel did not press for a stay of the conference and quashing of the DAR report, though they have prayed for these reliefs in their application. 

The power company in its application had sought direction to “hold and declare that the process thus far adopted by the CAG is arbitrary, unconstitutional and not known to law”.

“Restrain CAG from conducting any audit of any subject which is within <g data-gr-id="35">purview</g> of the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission and Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, and the Supreme Court.

“Direct CAG to issue a fresh report in accordance with the CAG audit regulation after duly responding to the queries raised by the petitioner, before holding the exit conference,” TPDDL has said in its application.
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