Stealing electricity proved costly for a 50-year-old man as he has been sentenced to two year rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs 81 lakh by a Delhi court which said "deterrent punishment" is required in such cases.
Additional Session Judge Suresh Kumar Gupta convicted Kishan Badguzar, a resident of Delhi, for power theft on the complaint of BSES Rajdhani Power Limited that he had stolen electricity worth over Rs 53 lakh for industrial purposes.
"There was an indiscriminate use of electricity by the convict (Kishan) because he was aware that he does not have to pay consumption charges. Such kind of convicts should bear in mind that they will have to face serious consequences including conviction and imprisonment.
"The deterrent punishment should be imposed to make the theft of electricity a zero tolerance zone. To my mind, Kishan is not entitled for any lenient view," the court said.
A BSES team had inspected Kishan's premises in West Delhi on March 17, 2007 and he was caught stealing power by tapping the main service line of BSES. The accused was residing there as a tenant.
Sentencing Kishan, the court said, "There was a connected load of 113 KW. Electricity, being a national asset, should be used with care and caution. The power theft is pervasive in India which results into electricity outrages.
"Power shortage is also owing to large scale power theft leaving the people to sweat in peak summer. The tariff is increased at regular intervals."
He said the honest consumer is the ultimate victim of power theft as he has to pay the electricity charges on increased tariff rates.
"The power theft also results into loss to the state exchequer. Electricity theft is not only an economic issue but it is also a safety issue. The offenders are putting themselves as well as lives of innocent persons at risk by connecting naked wires...," the judge said.