New Delhi, India --- (METERING.COM) --- June 22, 2009 - In what is the highest ever sentence awarded in a power theft case in Delhi, the Special Court of Electricity, Dwarka sentenced the owner of a mid sized industrial unit and a habitual power thief to rigorous imprisonment of 4 years.

Pooran Chand Lakra, the owner of a plastic bicycle wheel manufacturing unit, was also fined Rs 45.96 lakh (US$95,500).

Lakra’s son Mukesh Lakra was also sentenced to a jail term of 7.5 months and a fine of Rs 22.98 lakhs (US$47,700). In addition a civil liability fine of Rs 30.64 (US$63,600) was levied on the duo and the provision that should they default on the fines they will be required to undergo a further imprisonment of 6 months.

The case was brought by Delhi utility BSES and stretched back to a raid carried out by a BSES enforcement team in December 2006, which had unearthed power theft of over 102 kW taking place at Lakra’s factory. The power was being stolen by directly tapping into a nearby BSES LV main with copper wire. Two three-phase electronic meters were also found on the premises, one disconnected and the other burnt.

Subsequently, according to the guidelines of the Indian Electricity Act 2003, a penalty of Rs 38 lakh (US$79,000) was imposed on the accused. When the accused did not pay the penalty within the stipulated timeframe, BSES in 2007 filed a case in the Special Court. On their part, the accused pleaded not guilty and “claimed” trial.

This was Lakra’s third conviction, and as such he was also barred from getting any supply of electricity for a period of 3 months, BSES added in a statement.