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Monday, Dec 16, 2019

Power thieves getting smarter with distcoms

A family in north Delhi allegedly changed the number of their residence using forged documents to get a new electricity connection, reports Avishek G Dastidar.

delhi Updated: Jul 14, 2008 23:11 IST
Avishek G Dastidar
Avishek G Dastidar
Hindustan Times

In what appears to be a first, a family in north Delhi allegedly changed the number of their residence using forged documents to get a new electricity connection after the existing supply was disconnected following an outstanding due of over Rs 10 lakh, which they did not pay up.

The family, a husband-wife duo, conned the power distributing company into actually installing a new connection even as a humungous due was pending against the same house.

The distcom, North Delhi Power Limited (NDPL), finally got an inkling of the elaborate deceit and lodged a police complaint, following which the accused, Aseem Gupta and his wife Neelima Mirchandani, were arrested. They were produced at NDPL’s Special Court of Electricity where the judge denied bail.

“The accused had managed to fool our staff once by forged documents, which gave a new identity to the old house as far as the address is concerned. So, when they applied for a new connection, our computers had no reason to suspect,” said an NDPL official. Now, NDPL has alerted the staff especially servicing the urban village areas, to step up vigilance in assessing new-connection requests.

Distcoms across the capital are showering sops at electricity theft-prone areas so that power-thieves and defaulters cane be roped into the billing system. But, distcoms claim that defaulters are increasingly resorting to innovative techniques to evade paying up or getting caught, as the latest incident showed.

For instance, power distributor BSES is coming out with a campaign aimed at buyers of new houses telling them to ensure that they get the distcom’s “No-dues” certificate from the seller of the property.

“We have been receiving complaints from new owners of properties who are shocked to receive a bill of huge outstanding amount,” said a distcom official.

The distcom is now training local staff in taking part in the campaign to popularise the issuance of no-dues certificates.

“We want it to be a vital part of documents in a property deal, so that defaulters cannot escape a fat bill by shifting it to the next owner,” he said.