LESA online electricity bill fraud: High-level panel to decide punishment in Aug 29 meet

Published on Aug 28, 2022 12:51 AM IST

Additional chief secretary, home, Avnish Kumar Awasthi, has called a high-level meeting here on August 29 to take a call on the special investigation team’s (SIT) final report on the alleged online electricity billing fraud that flourished in the state capital more than 15 years ago

For representation only (HT File Photo)
For representation only (HT File Photo)

Additional chief secretary, home, Avnish Kumar Awasthi, has called a high-level meeting here on August 29 to take a call on the special investigation team’s (SIT) final report on the alleged online electricity billing fraud that flourished in the state capital more than 15 years ago.

In its final report submitted to the government recently, the SIT of police is believed to have indicted around two dozen UP Power Corporation Ltd (UPPCL) engineers and other personnel for their role in the racket.

A large number of defaulters’ power arrears were illegally dropped out under various electricity divisions by manipulating the data of the LESA’s online billing system by hacking the main password between 2004 and 2008, causing a revenue loss of 2.50 crore to the UPPCL. A departmental inquiry then also established this but no action was taken against anyone.

The UPPCL chairman, the Lucknow discom MD and the DG (SIT) are among the officials who have been told to be present in the meeting in the Lok Bhawan here on August 29 at 4 pm, as per a letter issued by the home department to the officials concerned. The meeting was earlier scheduled for August 11.

After the issue remained dormant for 15 years even after the departmental inquiry having established bungling, the SIT started a probe suddenly only a year ago after the home department referred the inquiry to it.

“Before launching the probe, in September last year, the SIT wrote a letter to the Madhyanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd (MVVNL) managing director, seeking certain details from him to get to the culprits,” a senior UPPCL official said.

In his correspondence to the MD on September 29, SIT superintendent of police (SP) Satyarth Anirudh Pankaj referred to the letter sent to him by the home department on January 2, 2021.

The home department had asked the SIT to identify the LESA officials, employees and consumers who caused around 2.50 crore loss to the UPPCL by washing out arrears from official records by manipulating LESA’s online billing data between 2004 and 2008.

The SIT also sought details regarding names of LESA divisions covered under the online billing system between 2004 and 2008 and the names and all other details of officials/employees who were posted there during the same period and also the details of private companies and their staff working for LESA then.

“In its final report submitted after 10 months’ groundwork, the SIT has indicted around a dozen UPPCL engineers and clerks for the racket in the capital,” a home department official said adding, “The nature and quantum of punishment is likely to be discussed and decided in the meeting on August 29.”

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Brajendra K Parashar is a Special Correspondent presently looking after agriculture, energy, transport, panchayati raj, commercial tax, Rashtriya Lok Dal, state election commission, IAS/PCS Associations, Vidhan Parishad among other beats.

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