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Police tells Bombay HC about action in power theft cases

Last Updated: Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 11:55

Mumbai: Police has informed the Bombay High Court that it cracks down on individuals or entities involved in stealing electricity amid increasing cases of power thefts in the city.

Whenever Brihanmumbai Electric and State Transport (BEST) and such other power distribution companies, file a complaint under the Electricity Act, 2003, police immediately registers an offence and investigates it as per the provisions of law, said Ashok Jagdale, senior police inspector, M.R.A Marg police station in an affidavit.

The affidavit was submitted by additional public prosecutor Aruna Kamath-Pai yesterday before the HC which was hearing a PIL against power theft.

The PIL, filed by ex-scribe Ketan Tirodkar, alleged that during Ganesh and Navratri festivals, public mandals collect huge amounts as donations for organising celebrations and despite that, they are given heavy concessions in power usage by the state power utilities.

Since 2005, 10 cases have been registered in the MRA Marg police station alone. "In all these cases accused have been arrested and charge sheet filed before the magistrate," states the affidavit.

It says that whenever police help is sought by the BEST to raid or inspect suspicious places, adequate police bandobast is provided.

The power distribution companies suffer distribution losses to a tune of 15 per cent overall and 50 per cent in some pockets. These are mainly due to power thefts resorted by `sarvajanik` (public) mandals during festivals, the PIL alleged.

Mumbai`s power demand is around 2,600 MW and the power supply companies -- Tata Power Company and Reliance Energy Ltd -- are able to provide only 2,300 MW at present. Besides, the state is facing power shortage of around 3,000-3,500 MW during morning and evening peak hours.

The PIL demanded that special cells be set up by the state government to crack down on such electric thefts.

A division bench of justices P V Hardas and Sadhana Jadhav adjourned the PIL for hearing in January 2014.

First Published: Saturday, December 21, 2013 - 11:55

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