New Delhi: The Delhi Government exaggerated the city's oxygen needs by four times during the peak of the second wave of Covid in April-May and the supply of excess oxygen "affected other states", says an interim report of a Supreme Court audit team, submitted by the Centre in court. There is no such report, Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, calling it "malicious and false" propaganda.
At an online press briefing, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday claimed there is no report approved by the Supreme Court-appointed Oxygen Audit Committee about Delhi exaggerating its oxygen requirement by four times during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He accused the BJP of lying and alleged that the "bogus" and "misleading" report has been "cooked up" at its office and submitted by the central government in the apex court.
Sisodia's comments came after BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra, citing the Supreme Court-appointed audit panel's report, slammed the Delhi government over it, terming it to be a "heinous crime".
"The real truth about this report is that it does not exist. This alleged report which is being used by BJP leaders to senselessly slam CM Arvind Kejriwal does not exist.
"It is bogus and misleading. The Bhartiya Janata Party is lying and shirking accountability," Sisodia said.
The Supreme Court had appointed an Oxygen Audit Committee, in lieu of the prevailing oxygen crisis during the second Covid wave, he said.
"Upon speaking to members of this Oxygen Audit Committee, the truth came out. Members of this committee have informed the Delhi government that no such report has been approved, signed or released.
"When no such report has been approved by the Oxygen Audit Committee, then which report is being used by the BJP to yet again malign the Delhi Government? Where has this report come from?" Sisodia questioned.
By doing this, he said, the BJP is not abusing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, but "those who lost their family members due to oxygen shortage" when coronavirus cases were at its peak.
He accused the Centre of mismanagement "which led to the O2 crisis".
"People were crying to arrange an oxygen cylinder for their family members, doctors requesting for more oxygen, hospitals demanding oxygen and facing huge crisis, attendants of patients, hospitals etc who went to court to complain against this crisis - are they all lying? Were these people lying when they said there is a dearth of oxygen, because of which they lost their loved ones?" the deputy chief minister said.
Acusing the BJP of lying, he said the saffron party's "lies have been unrelenting and limitless".
"I request Modi ji to take stock of his party, the lies orated by BJP have become perpetual and heinous. The BJP is no more Bhartiya Janata Party, but in fact, Bhartiya Jhagdaalu Party because all they do is fight. There is nothing else that BJP does other than fighting with states," he alleged.
BJP leaders, including east Delhi MP Gautam Gambhir and former Delhi minister Kapil Mishra have been slamming the Delhi government over the issue and have demanded an apology over what they called 'criminal negligence'.
"Imagine the amount of criminality. This is a heinous crime by Arvind Kejriwal. This is criminal negligence as the panel says he sought four times more oxygen than required. The report has exposed the politics he played to shift blame from his incompetence and failure to deal with COVID-19," Patra claimed earlier in the day.
Slamming the BJP for constantly shirking responsibility and lying, Sisodia said the BJP has cooked up the false report.
"We all saw the COVID-19 peak in the month of April. The responsibility to manage oxygen supply was fully on the central government. The central government completely messed up the oxygen management system because of which many families had to suffer.
"Our doctors, hospitals and people clamoured for more oxygen but instead of taking responsibility of botching the oxygen crisis, the BJP government invented this alleged report full of lies," he said.
While challenging the BJP to present such a report, he called it "absolutely shameful and despicable" that BJP leaders, sitting at their party headquarters, "cooked up some misleading facts and fabricated an alleged report to shift accountability from themselves".
"The BJP should be ashamed of itself for spouting flagrant lies. If there is a report signed by the Oxygen Audit Committee, then all these BJP leaders and Union ministers should tell us who all have signed and where is the stamp of approval by the committee. Which members have approved this report? We demand these answers from BJP leaders," he said.
Delhi was hit severely by a brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in April and May, claiming a massive number of lives daily, with a shortage in oxygen supply at various city hospitals adding to the woes.
According to the concerned report, which Sisodia has denied existence of, the sub-group constituted by the Supreme Court to audit oxygen consumption in hospitals in the national capital said the Delhi government "exaggerated" by about four times the requirement of oxygen by making claim on April 30 for allocation of 700 MT using "wrong formula".
The five-member panel headed by AIIMS director Randep Gulleria said in its fourth meeting on May 13, it was discussed that the actual oxygen consumption claimed (1140MT) was about four times higher than the versus calculated consumptions by formula for bed capacity (289MT).
The panel in its report pointed out that four model hospitals in Delhi-Singhal Hospital, Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, ESIC Model Hospital and Liferay Hospital have claimed extremely high oxygen consumption with very few beds and the claims appeared to be clearly "erroneous, leading to extremely skewed information and significantly higher oxygen requirement for entire state of Delhi".