The Delhi High Court has provided some relief for BSES Yamuna Power Limited in a case involving recovery of
Rs 44.5 crore power theft bill.
In 2004, the discom, which distributes power to East Delhi, stumbled upon the biggest case of electricity pilferage in the Capital so far. A bill of a whopping Rs 44.5 crore was raised against Ashoka Paper Mill in Jawahar Nagar for power theft.
But six years later, the discom has failed to recover even a single penny from the errant paper factory.
n After summoning crucial records pertaining to sealing, why was the electricity court cold on the SDM and the pollution control board appearing in court without crucial documents?
n Where have the sealing records gone? Why hasn’t the court taken any action?
n Why was the prosecution not being given sufficient time to prepare its case?
According to BSES, thanks to several “unjustifiable” orders by the judge at the special electricity court, Karkardooma, it could not present crucial evidence to nail the owner of the factory and recover the amount.
On a petition filed by BSES listing 17 “errors” by the lower court judge, the Delhi High Court has stayed all proceedings before the electricity court. It has also issued notices to the government and the accused for a response by July 8.
R.N. Mittal, senior counsel for the discom told the Bench: “Great injustice will be caused to BSES in case the said evidence is not allowed to be brought before the trial court as the case involves a huge amount of electricity theft.”
The Supreme Court had ordered the sealing of the factory in 1996 for causing pollution. On July 17, 2004, an inspection team of the BSES was surprised to find the mill running.
The BSES petition says, “After our inspection, the average daily consumption from the Johripur feeder, which the factory was using illegally, fell by 40,000 units. Clearly, this was the per day consumption.”
Mittal said the discom was not given sufficient time to present the evidence by the electricity court.
“The lower court acted in haste. Documents were required to link the accused to the crime and the premises. A staff member from the office of the sub divisional magistrate (SDM) and the Delhi Pollution Control Board appeared as a witness but came without the records. However, the electricity court did not take a stern view of this lapse,” Mittal added.