Heavy penalty and imprisonment in power theft cases
Using power illegally has cost a West Delhi factory owner Rs.1.32 crore in penalty. Finding the accused guilty of stealing 103 kW of electricity, a Special Court of Electricity in Dwarka has convicted Manoj Kumar under Section 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003.
He has not only been penalised Rs.1.32 crore in fine and civil liability, but will also have to serve out a two-year rigorous imprisonment.
The Court has specified that if the accused defaults on paying the fine, he will have to further undergo simple imprisonment for an additional six months. According to power distribution company BSES, the factory owner was convicted for stealing electricity for industrial purposes.
“Order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Suresh Kumar Gupta said since the load is more than 10 kW, the fine imposed should not be less than three times of the financial gain on account of theft of electricity. Manoj Kumar was sentenced to undergo RI for two years with a fine of Rs.80,00,000 and in default of payment of fine to undergo SI for 6 months. Accordingly, the civil liability on the basis of tariff rate was assessed at Rs.51,52,521 which will be payable with simple interest at the rate of six per cent per annum from the due date of bill till its payment…,” said a BSES spokesperson.
An inspection by an enforcement team of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited (BRPL) in June 2006 had found large-scale power theft of 103 kW taking place at Village Kamruddin Nagar in West Delhi. “At the time of inspection, the electricity meter was found bypassed and power was being directly stolen with the help of three illegal teflon wires. The stolen electricity was used for running rubber and anodizing plants,” the spokesperson said.
A power theft bill of Rs.51 lakh was raised and issued to the accused according to the laid down regulations. “When the accused did not pay the fine within the stipulated time frame, a complaint was lodged. Accused Rakesh Kumar and Manoj Kumar were summoned by the Special Court. Since the duo did not appear before the Court, they were declared proclaimed offenders. Subsequently, Manoj Kumar was arrested but granted bail. He had pleaded not guilty and had claimed trial. During the course of the trial, he had taken various pleas, including that he was a property dealer and had nothing to do with the said power-theft. The other accused is absconding,” the spokesperson said.
In another similar case, a Special Court of Electricity in Saket has sentenced four residents – Suraj Bhan, Deepak Kumar, Rakesh and Mukesh Kumar – all residents of Munirka in South Delhi to two years of rigorous imprisonment and levied a cumulative fine of Rs.3.37 lakh. In case of default of fine, the accused will have to undergo simple imprisonment for two more months.
“In his order, Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Tewari said he considers power theft to be an economic offence, wherein the society as a whole is the victim and the honest payers of electricity charges the sufferers,” said a BSES spokesperson.
The Special Court also imposed a civil liability of Rs.1.4 lakh, Rs.1.3 lakh and Rs.7,133 towards Suraj Bhan, Deepak Kumar, and Rakesh and Mukesh Kumar respectively and imposed a fine of Rs.84,000, which will have to be paid by the accused Suraj Bhan and Deepak and Rs.28,190 which will be paid by Rakesh and Mukesh.
“An inspection by BRPL enforcement team – accompanied by CISF and Delhi Police personnel – in January 2008 found power theft taking place in Suraj Niwas, Munirka. The electricity meter at the site was found bypassed and electricity was being used by illegally tapping into BSES’ service lines. The premises, with four floors, was owned by Suraj Bhan. While he lived with his family on the second floor, a travel agency ‘Skyborn Tour & Travels’ was being run from the third and a TV repair shop from the ground floor.”
“The inspection found 12.7 kW of stolen power being used for domestic purposes, 4.80 kW for commercial purposes – running a travel agency ‘Skyborn Tour & Travels’ by Rakesh and Deepak and 0.17 kW for running a TV repair shop by Deepak and Mukesh,” the spokesperson said giving details of the case.