Gang posing as electricity dept officials busted, two held
A gang of conmen who posed as electricity department officials to extort money from Delhi residents by pointing out genuine or dubious faults in their electricity meters has been busted with the arrest of two people, police said on Wednesday.
The gang had a network of informers who would tip them off about faults in the electricity meters of consumers or help identify vulnerable people, said Vijay Kumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police (south).
Their arrest led to the recovery of fake BSES identity cards, broken seals of 42 electricity meters and tools used for breaking or uprooting metres, said the officer.
Identifying the arrested men as Brijesh Sharma, 30, and Sanjay Kumar, 43, the DCP said that they were caught from MB Road on Wednesday after a tip-off. They had similar cases against them in the past, said the officer.
The DCP said that the modus operandi of this gang was simple. Once their informers identified potential victims for them, the duo would visit those homes posing as officials from the BSES vigilance team.
“They would either create a fault in the electricity meter or point out a genuine one before threatening to impose hefty penalties on the residents. Most victims would get their metres reinstalled by paying money. If someone refused to pay up, they would quietly return the meter a few days later,” said the officer.
What made this gang have a successful run was that most victims didn’t approach the police with a formal complaint. “Those who didn’t pay the extortionists would file a case of theft of metre. Others would simply register a lost report to apply for a new metre,” said the DCP.
Many of their crimes have been linked to online FIRs of theft. “We have recovered 42 broken seals of meter from them. This itself means they have targeted scores of people,” said the officer.
The BSES issued a statement saying that such gangs of imposters had become a menace. “In the last three-four years, over 30 such impostors have been apprehended and most of them arrested. These breakthroughs have come on the back of well-coordinated operations, involving the residents, smart sleuthing by BSES’ Vigilance Teams and the Delhi Police,” the statement said.
“We appeal to our consumers not to get intimidated or induced by threats and/or false assurances of the ‘impostors’ and not give them any money – whatever be the reason. All fines and penalties and commercial payments are to be made only at designated BSES offices,” a BSES spokesperson said.
The BSES also advised its consumers to ascertain and verify the identity of persons, claiming to be from BSES, who visit their premises.
If consumers have any doubt or notice anything suspicious, they should immediately alert the nearest BSES office or call 26273311/ 39999707 for BRPL and 8010930719/ 41999808 for BYPL or inform the local police on #100.