A special court last week denied bail to four persons accused of power theft, until the full penalty for their offence was paid.
Additional sessions judge VK Goel of the electricity court in Rohini sent the four to prison after separate FIRs were registered against them at two police stations, in Maurya Enclave and Adarsh Nagar, following complaints against them from Tatas-run power distribution company North Delhi Power Ltd (NDPL).
The accused — Yashpal, Nanhe Lal, Pale and Ravi — were produced before the court, where the judge said electricity theft was a serious offence and merely paying half the penalty — which is the practice — did not qualify for bail. “We hope such stringent judicial and police action against power thieves will act as a deterrent and also send a strong message to people who steal electricity,” an NDPL spokesperson said.
Pale and Ravi will now have to pay a penalty amount of Rs32,318 by July 10, while Yashpal and Nanhe Lal have been directed to stump up Rs1,51,110.
Earlier last week, another electricity court ordered the attachment of property of three offenders because they did not pay the penalty amounts.
Of the cases of power theft coming to light every year, the areas covered by BSES Rajdhani (BRPL) and BSES Yamuna (BYPL) saw 996 instances where “power thieves” had opted for amicable settlements with the discoms by paying penalty amounts agreed upon mutually. Trouble began when several of these “reformed thieves” defaulted in paying even the settlement amounts.
Discom BYPL moved court against three such individuals. Subsequently the court issued the ruling of property attachment (known as Kukri Zabti), the first time in power-theft cases. The three accused are residents of the walled city.
To settle power theft cases amicably, the discoms — NDPL, BYPL and BRPL — hold special sessions called lok adalats, where the cases are arbitrated.