New Delhi: A dhobi (laundry man) running a massive laundry establishment with over 70 presses has been fined Rs 1.8 crore for stealing electricity.
Ashok Kumar, whose sprawling establishment is spread over 1,500 m in central Delhi's Shankar Road, was consuming 310 KW of electricity against his sanctioned load of only 6 KW.
The enforcement cell of the BSES, the Anil Ambani owned power-distributing company, came upon the racket during a raid.
"The dhobi Ashok Kumar was found to be running a huge laundry establishment consisting of 70 irons, 20 hydrogen lamps and over 40 bulbs. All this was running on stolen power," said an official spokesperson of the company.
"While his sanctioned load was only 6 KW, the accused was found to be using nearly 310 KW of electricity - hooked from a nearby line to run his establishment," he added.
Hotels, restaurants and other dry cleaners in the area were outsourcing their laundry work to Kumar.
BSES officials said they would hear his version too. "He will be asked to pay the penalty amount within 21 days failing which we may move to court."
"In both cases, action will be taken against the accused as per the provisions stated in the Indian Electricity Act 2003," the spokesperson added.
In another dramatic case of power theft, a penalty of Rs 6 million is likely to be levied against a Raja Ram Maurya in Delhi's Ajmeri Gate locality who had given illegal connections to nearly 150 residents in the area.
Authorities said he was found guilty of stealing 210 KW of electricity. He, too, was stealing electricity by hooking from the nearby BSES distribution line.