New Delhi, July 17 (IANS) In a tragic turn to an anti-power theft drive by BSES, one of Delhi’s two electricity distribution companies (discoms), a young engineer lost his life and four other officials were seriously injured when attacked by power thieves here on Monday, said a discom spokesperson.

“First, the teams were viciously attacked up by a mob in Jhul Jhuli village (in west Delhi), causing them to retreat. As they were retreating, the teams were chased by bike-borne goons. In the ensuing melee, one of the cars met with an accident and rammed into a tree, wherein five occupants were injured,” a BSES statement said.

“One of them, a young engineer, succumbed to his injuries subsequently,” it said.

Underlining the fact of the first loss of life caused by the menace of power theft, BSES said that on Monday, three of its inspection teams went to check on reports of large-scale power-theft in “village Jhul Jhuli, a high power theft prone area in Jaffarpur, West Delhi,” accompanied by Delhi Police personnel.

Hwever, “so brazen was the attack that, once again, the presence of Delhi Police personnel accompanying the BSES teams did not deter the mob”, the statement added.

Last month, three discom officials and a Delhi Police officer sustained injuries and many vehicles were damaged when they were attacked by a mob in Mundka in west Delhi.

BSES said that in the last five years, around 14,000 cases of power theft, having a connected load of around 33,000 KW, have been unearthed in the Jaffarpur area, while in the last two years, around 450 cases of power theft having a connected load of around 1,200 KW have been unearthed in the Mundka area.

In May, special electricity courts in Delhi for power thefts had handed out heavy punishment to two offenders — one of them sentenced to jail and a Rs 4 lakh fine imposed.

Earlier this year, the BSES had announced the sentencing of three offenders to jail terms and cumulative fines of over Rs 55 lakh.

Last year, special courts in four separate judgments had sentenced Delhi residents to rigorous imprisonment for power theft and imposed heavy fines.

“BSES discoms have successfully brought down AT & C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses from more than 55 per cent in 2002 (at the time of privatization) to the current level of around 12 per cent – a reduction around 45 per cent,” the statement added.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.