The Delhi government on Friday said that the audit team appointed by the Supreme Court has "not signed or approved" the interim report which claims that the national capital "inflated" its medical oxygen needs during the peak of the second Covid-19 wave.
However, top government sources from the legal team have confirmed to CNN News 18 that a report was in fact served to the Delhi government on June 22. The sources said the report was served to the advocate on record for the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government in Delhi, and to call the report 'a figment of imagination' is a blatant lie.
The authenticity of the report/affidavit has also been confirmed from the top lawyers of the Union govt, they said.
An audit team appointed by the SC has reportedly found that the Delhi government exaggerated the oxygen requirement in the national capital by more than four times during the April 25-May 10 peak period of the Covid-19 second wave.
The oxygen audit team also informed the apex court that the supply of excess oxygen to Delhi could have affected supply to 12 states with a high caseload.
"There was a gross discrepancy (about four times). The actual oxygen consumption claimed by the Delhi government (1,140MT) was about four times higher than the calculated consumption as per the formula based on bed capacity (289 MT)," the newspaper cited the audit sub-group as saying in its report.
Further, the Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organisation (PESO) reportedly told the SC-appointed sub-group that the "National Capital Territory of Delhi had surplus oxygen, which is affecting liquid medical oxygen (LMO) supply to other states". It noted that the situation may lead to a national crisis, according to the news report.
On May 5, during the peak of the second wave of novel coronavirus infections, a Justice DY Chandrachud-led bench of the top court had directed the Centre to maintain oxygen supply of 700 MT to Delhi even as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had presented experts' calculation pegging the need to be around 415 MT of LMO. The direction came after the Delhi government raised alarm over a shortage in oxygen supply.
During the April-May period, the national capital had witnessed a major shortage of oxygen, available beds, and medicines required for the treatment of Covid-19 patients. On April 20, 2021, Delhi had reported around 28,000 new Covid-19 cases during a 24-hour period.
In its interim report to the SC, the sub-group said it drafted a proforma to "calculate accurate oxygen requirement of NCTD” and circulated it among 260 hospitals. As many as 183 hospitals, including all major ones, responded with oxygen consumption data, which was analysed against three parameters – actual consumption of oxygen, requirement as per Centre's formula and Delhi government's formula.
It said actual LMO consumption in 183 hospitals as per Delhi government was 1,140 MT, but according to hospital supplied information, the actual consumption was only 209 MT. If the Centre-recommended formula for oxygen allotment was employed, the requirement would have been 289 MT and as per the Delhi government formula it would have been 391 MT, it said.
However, Chief Minister Kejriwal said his only “crime” was that he “fought for the breath of two crore people”. He also said that those who lost their loved ones due to the shortage of oxygen should not be called “liars”.
In reply to the allegation, Kejriwal took to Twitter to say, “My crime — I fought for the breath of my two crore people. When you were doing an election rally, I was awake all night arranging for oxygen. I fought, pleaded to get oxygen for people.” “People have lost their loved ones due to lack of oxygen. Don’t call them liars, they are feeling so bad,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.