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Discom turns to crime, pulled up

delhi Updated: Apr 13, 2010 23:33 IST
Avishek G. Dastidar
Avishek G. Dastidar
Hindustan Times
Avishek G. Dastidar

If you have been paying your electricity bills regularly and yet find power company officials at your doorstep for inspection of meter, beware.

Discom BSES Rajdhani (BRPL) has just been found guilty of falsely implicating a South Delhi consumer after framing up a power theft case.

The capital's power regulator has fined BRPL Rs 1 lakh for the criminal act and also for destroying evidence and deliberately harassing the consumer.

Besides, one of the company's area managers have been imposed with a personal penalty of Rs 5,000, to be deducted from his salary while the customer will get Rs 20,000 as compensation.

The Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission directed BRPL to instruct its employees to “desist from doing any illegal, unwarranted action” and be careful during inspections.

Vasant Kunj resident Suresh Sharam, who won the battle against the city's biggest discom that services 70% of Delhi, said incidents like this were rampant.

“The confidence with which they framed the case step by step was proof enough that they are used to doing this,” he said.

He said one fine day last year, a team of discom officials reached his house and demanded to inspect the electricity meter saying they had enough information to prove that Sharma was stealing electricity. The inspection happened in the absence of Sharma or any adult member of the family, as is the law.

Sharma's minor son stood watching as the officials tore out the meter, hit it with hammer and rods to plant some marks of "tampering" and then claimed that the meter was tampered, Sharma told the electricity commission.

“They basically wanted me to cough up money,” Sharma, an MNC executive, said.

But what proved to be the undoing for BRPL was that according to law, enforcement drives like this are to be video recorded for evidence in court. Looking at the video footage, the commission found the officials guilty.

When asked, the discom couldn’t answer why exactly the raid was conducted.

HT asked BRPL what steps it has taken to make sure such incidents are not repeated but BSES officials refused to comment. Neither its CEO Gopal Saxena nor his representatives reverted with any response.