The Congress on Monday alleged a Rs 20,000 crore nationwide scam in the procurement of LED bulbs for government use by a state-owned company and demanded a Supreme Court-monitored probe into it.
Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said the Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of Public Sector Units (PSUs) of Power Ministry, is making purchases of LED bulbs in violation of Supreme Court and Vigilance Commission guidelines.
He said ever since the NDA government came to power there is no transparency in procurements made by the company that does not manufacture any LED bulbs and alleged that it is making procurements of "substandard" LED bulbs from China and Taiwan in violation of laid norms.
"There should be an independent inquiry and it should be monitored by the Supreme Court, as according to our estimates there is a corruption to the tune of Rs 20,000 crores, the way the quality is compromised," Gohil told reporters.
He said he has earlier raised the issue in Gujarat Assembly but the minister there was unable to answer the allegations raised.
The Congress leader said he procured through RTI power bills of Nausari municipality which revealed that there was no reduction in them ever since LED bulbs replaced old bulbs. In fact, there was an increase over a period of few months that indicated substandard quality of bulbs procured, he said.
"This is a national issue and we would like an independent probe into it," he said.
"I would like Mr Piyush Goyal under whose ministry this company belongs to tweet and say why the guidelines have not been followed and certification not done. Why was importance not given to 'Make in India' and why were bulbs procured from China and Taiwan and why no audit was done on procurements," he said.
Another Congress spokesperson Rajeev Gowda said "we will go to the people and we will raise the issue in Parliament also".
Gowda said the scale of this fraud is enormous and "it is incumbent upon us to raise the issue in Parliament".
"We will raise this as an issue of national importance in Parliament," he said.
Gohil said, "the BJP government at the Centre yet again finds itself indulging in massive irregularities and corruption at a lightning speed. Even before the nation blinks its eye to see through the reality, the Central Government is using dubious and highly questionable practices for procurement and distribution of the 'Ujala' LED bulbs."
He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims that his government has distributed more than 21 crore LED bulbs, does not tell the people of India that this process itself "is making a joke of their much-publicised claims of 'Make in India'. Crores of these LED bulbs, LED streetlights, LED pumps and LED fans are infact 'Made in China' or 'Made in Taiwan'".
"In this context we would like to ask Power Minister Piyush Goyal and the government that under whose direction this entire fraudulent exercise was being done? Is it being done with the knowledge of the Power Minister? If the minister did not know, will he order a time-bound impartial inquiry in the same?" he said.
"The Congress party demands an impartial inquiry under the supervision of a retired Supreme Court judge for the same," Gohil said.