Swaraj India, the Yogendra Yadav-led social organisation that broke away from the Aam Aadmi Party, has accused the Delhi government of being involved in an autorickshaw scam.
In a press conference held in the National Capital on Tuesday, the party alleged that the AAP government was selling new autos worth Rs 1,85,000 at Rs 4,50,000, in collusion with the 'finance mafia'.
"If an unemployed person decides to buy an autorickshaw, he is made to pay anywhere between Rs 4,50,000 and Rs 4,70,000. Whereas, the fact remains that the actual cost of a new auto is Rs 1,85,000, which goes on record as white money," party spokesperson Anupam was quoted as saying by PTI.
According to Anupam, the Arvind Kejriwal government was acting in connivance with the 'finance mafia' for hefty monetary gains.
"The nexus between the finance mafia and the government ensures that an old auto is first transferred under some other licence badge. It is then scrapped and the scrapping certificate is procured. The Transport Department issues a no-dues certificate after verifying the scrapping certificate and releases the Letter of Intent (LoI) for buying the new auto. The complete process violates all rules and the Supreme Court order to finance a new auto to the poor autorickshaw driver," he claimed.
Anupam further alleged that Delhi government's Transport Department officials were complicit at every step of this.
Most auto rickshaws in Delhi are sold through finance, and the financiers play an important role in this 'scam'.
"They exploit auto drivers with the help of government officials, leaders and ministers," the spokesperson stated.
In the 1997 case of MC Mehta vs the Union of India and Others, the Supreme Court had clearly mandated that any sort of permit-trading would lead to the cancellation of the permit, and legal action against those involved in the trading.
Swaraj India claims the Delhi government and the finance mafia are trading in permits in clear violation of the court verdict.
Anupam launched a scathing attack on Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal during the press conference. "The Aam Aadmi Party came to power riding on the shoulders of auto drivers. This hard-working class played a pivotal role in the party's landslide victory in the Assembly elections," he said.
Purushottam, another Swaraj India leader, echoed a similar viewpoint. "A black money transaction of Rs 2.65 lakh to Rs 2.85 lakh is taking place in the purchase of every single auto in Delhi. At a time when all major parties are debating the issue, people sitting in the Delhi government are making huge sums of money in the name of auto permits," he alleged.
- The Delhi government has refused to provide autos to 8,258 drivers at Rs 1.85 lakh, even after declaring them eligible to buy new autos. Even after the autos were delivered to them, 324 drivers were not registered for a whole year.
- Poor drivers are forced to pay bank installments on new autos, even as they languish for over a year without registration. They have no option but to drive rented autos for their livelihood.
- The CBI must probe the auto scam and culprits be given strict punishment.
- The aforementioned 324 autos must be registered immediately, and the successful drivers possessing licence badges must be given their autos.
- The scam must immediately be brought to an end, in order to reduce the metred auto fares, as well as increase the profits for auto drivers.