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Gahlot’s China study tour hits a bump post raids at properties

The travel plans of a delegation tasked with assessing the functionality of China’s public transport infrastructure, which has electric buses at its core, have been put on hold following Wednesday’s Income Tax Department raids at properties linked to Delhi Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot across the National Capital Region here, government sources claimed.

Sixteen properties linked to the Minister, including his residence in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj, were raided on Wednesday.

The sources said Mr. Gahlot was scheduled to lead the delegation, comprising around a dozen officials, for the research-based study tour. The nine-day tour was to assess the prevailing operational model under which e-buses function in various cities in China, which has the world’s largest fleet of such vehicles as part of its State transport infrastructure, and Hong Kong.

The intent was to zero in on a workable model for a fleet of around 1,000 e-buses, which the Aam Aadmi Party government in Delhi envisages.

“The delegation was supposed to fly to China on October 12 [Friday] and return by October 21. Chinese cities like Shenzhen and some locations in Hong Kong were on the itinerary,” said a government source.

‘Meetings cancelled’

“However, the tour cannot proceed as planned earlier after I-T raids at Mr. Gahlot’s properties. There is currently no certainty about when it will materialise,” the source said.

The source added that meetings scheduled to be chaired by the Minister on Wednesday and Thursday on Transport Department-related matters, including a review of ongoing projects, had to be cancelled due to his unavailability following the raids.

In addition to Mr. Gahlot, government sources said, the delegation to China also comprised Transport Commissioner-cum-Secretary Varsha Joshi and Special Commissioner (Transport) K. K. Dahiya. However, Ms. Joshi opted out of the trip earlier this week due to personal reasons, sources added.

Representatives from the Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System Limited (DIMTS), which is currently carrying out a feasibility study related to operational aspects of the proposed fleet, were also part of the delegation.

…The tour cannot proceed as planned earlier and there is currently no certainty about when it will materialise

Government source

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