The conviction rate in cases of electricity thefts in Mumbai in the past decade from 2005 till 2016 stands at a meagre 1.65 % with 965 cases being registered in this period and a conviction coming in just 16 cases, revealed an RTI query by the Hindustan Times.
The number of cases pending before the sessions court at Kala Ghoda and pending investigations before Mumbai Police is not maintained by vigilance department of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport (BEST) Undertaking and hence the query under the RTI Act went unanswered. The conviction percentage has been calculated based on the number of cases and the convictions between 2005 and last year in Mumbai city limits.
The maximum punishment one may get for electricity thefts is five years and minimum can be of few months and a fine. The BEST have managed to get conviction in 92 cases of electricity thefts. Even as the information on pending cases before police and court was unavailable under the RTI Act, an official from the vigilance department of BEST said, “About 90% cases get compounded with our consent after the accused accepts criminal and civil liability.”
“This provision is as per section 152 (compounding of offences) of the Electricity Act. In compounded cases the accused are deemed acquitted by the sessions court. We do not go for compounding in cases where accused is a repeat offender. In rest of the 10% cases, there are convictions in few, while rest are pending for investigations or pending before court,” the official added.