Pointing a finger at the ruling NDA government at the Centre, the Congress party on Monday alleged that the process of procurement and distribution of 'Ujala' LED bulbs has given birth to a Rs.20,000-crore scam.
The party charged that the central government was using "dubious and questionable practices" for procurement and distribution of LED bulbs and demanded an independent inquiry by a retired Supreme Court judge.
"Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who claims that his government has distributed more than 21 crore LED bulbs, does not tell people that in the process, the government itself is making a mockery of its much-publicised 'Make in India' drive.
"Crores of these LED bulbs, LED street lights, pumps and fans are made in China or in Taiwan," said Congress spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil.
Gohil alleged that there was no transparency in the tendering and procurement of these LED bulbs, street lights, pumps and fans, among others.
"Cost of one such LED street light is about Rs 2,000. If we take into account the irregularities and fraud in the tendering process, this turns out to be a scam of at least Rs 20,000 crore," he said.
"While the Vigilance Commission mandates that such procurement should be publicised for RFQ (request for quotation) on the basis of merit and should be put on a government website, the Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (the procuring agency) puts it on their own private platforms for a short period, thus manipulating the entire process of tendering," said Gohil.
"Although there are four Power Ministry PSUs involved in this entire process, the companies neither manufacture nor procure any part, not even a diode of the LED bulb. Instead, they procure from Chinese and other foreign companies," he added.
The Congress also pointed out that the Vigilance Commission guidelines categorically state that a third party audit has to be done after such procurement.