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A special court has slapped a whopping penalty of Rs 1.48 crore on a city resident for stealing 243 kw of electricity for running a plastic factory in west Delhi’s Tagore garden area, and awarded a rigorous imprisonment of two years. Power theft remains a menace in several parts of Delhi, resulting in substantial revenue loss to the discoms, and has also increased the number of trippings and local breakdowns manifold. In case of default, he will undergo a further simple imprisonment of six months, as per the judgement by the Special Court of Electricity, Dwarka, the BSES said in a statement on Monday.
“The penalty should not be less than three times the financial gain on account of theft of liability. Hence, convict Ranjit Singh Chaudhary is sentenced to undergo RI for two years and to pay fine of Rs 1,48,61,194 and in default of payment of time to undergo SI for six months,” the statement quoted court’s Additional Sessions Judge Gulshan Kumar as saying.
Though Delhi discoms have managed to reduce AT&C (aggregate technical and commercial) losses from over 55 per cent to under 15 per cent in the last 14 years, still, there are areas in Najafgargh, Jaffarpur, Mundka, Nangloi, Daryaganj, Chandani Chowk, Paharganj, Seelampur, Nand Nagari, Yamuna Vihar, Karawal Nagar, and Shaheen Bagh, where power theft continues to be a concern.
It is also rampant in some unauthorised colonies, according to BSES. “The convict is also liable to pay civil liability u/s 154 (5) of the Act so amount of civil liability shall be paid to the complainant towards satisfaction of the civil liability, out of fine.” “The bill is raised on the basis of consumption for a period of 12 months multiplied by two times of the applicable tariff rate. Accordingly, the civil liability on the basis of the then tariff rate is assessed at Rs 99,07,463,” the judgement said.
At the time the theft was found out, no electricity meter was found at the site. The entire electricity load of the factory was being stolen using eight Teflon wires, the BSES said. “According to regulations, a penalty was imposed on him. When he did not pay the amount within the mandated time frame, an FIR was registered against him u/s 135 of the Electricity Act, 2003 and a criminal case filed,” the discom said, adding, “the accused had pleaded innocence”.
“With the help of several witnesses (over course of the trial, 19 witnesses were examined) and MCD records, the company was able to prove that Ranjit Singh Chaudhary was indeed the owner of the factory, and he had been granted a license for doing business of plastic goods,” it said. BRPL & BYPL are distribution companies and joint ventures between Reliance Infrastructure Limited and Delhi government.