In a bid to create a deterrent effect against electricity mafias and thieves in the island city of Mumbai, the vigilance department of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) has decided to register more FIRs against electricity thefts. As per an RTI query by HT, 147 FIRs have been registered in 2016 (till Nov), while 119 were registered last year and the vigilance department aims at registering more FIRs in future.
In 2016, till November a total of 1,765 vigilance cases of electricity thefts were detected, in which 147 FIRs have been registered. In 2015, a total of 1,978 cases were detected by the vigilance department in which 119 FIRs were registered.
An official from the department said, “In case the person stealing electricity is an individual and is a first time offender then we collect twice the amount of electricity stolen. In case the amount is paid, an FIR is not registered,”
“However, an FIR is registered mostly when huge amount of electricity is stolen by people for commercial purposes or by mafias in slums. Even people living in high end societies in the island city have been found stealing electricity for years,” he added.
The vigilance department on the same day of detecting the theft gives a provisional claim (PA) of electricity stolen to the accused person. The accused has to then report to the vigilance department in a stipulated time where a final assessment (FA) is made based on proofs given by the accused person. The FA amount is later recovered.
R J Singh, chief vigilance officer, told HT, “We believe registering more FIRs will create a deterrent effect so the message will be loud and clear to offenders.” The vigilance department as per the law has the power to register an FIR in case of electricity thefts depending upon the nature of each case.
Singh added, “We have managed to control electricity thefts in slum pockets over the years. But, we have come across individual cases where people from good financial backgrounds have stolen huge amount of electricity for commercial purpose.”
Big catch for electricity thefts in 2016 — All commercial establishments
November – A man running a hotel in Dongri was booked after a provisional assessment of Rs 94.87 lakh and Rs 23 lakh were recovered.
January – A resident of Darukhana, Mazgaon booked for stealing electricity through tampered meter for commercial purpose. A final assessment of Rs 36.33 lakh was made and Rs 18.17 lakh were recovered.
June – A guest house owner was booked and a final assessment of Rs 24.59 lakh was made and Rs 9 lakh were recovered. The owner was booked for meter tampering.
April – A person in Dharavi was booked for running a commercial establishment on stolen electricity. A final assessment of Rs 32.21 lakh was made but no recovery yet.
June – A developer was booked at Jacob circle and a final assessment of Rs 31 lakh was made and Rs 24 lakh were recovered.