A BSES engineer was killed and four of his colleagues were injured when their car crashed into a tree while trying to escape from a mob armed with rods and hockey sticks at Jhuljhuli village, near Najafgarh in southwest Delhi, on Monday.
The BSES team had gone to the village to inspect complaints of power theft. The team, led by Abhimanyu Singh, had videographed visible instances of power theft, which angered the villagers.
Soon, a mob gathered, some of them armed with rods and hockey sticks, and asked the discom officials to hand over their cameras. With the threat of violence looming+ , a police force accompanying the 15-member team asked the engineers to go back.
They kept the villagers at bay to allow the team safe passage, but a few locals chased the BSES vehicles on bikes. One of the bikers came up alongside a BSES car and threatened to thrash the driver if he did not stop. The driver, Wasim, 22, panicked and swerved off the road. “He lost control of the vehicle. It overturned and hit a tree,” said a BSES official.
A case has been filed and the four injured BSES employees have been admitted to hospital, the officer said.
In June, a Delhi policeman and three BSES employees were injured in stone-throwing by residents during a similar drive on the outskirts of Delhi.
“These are not isolated incidents. Efforts of the teams to check irregularities are often thwarted by law-defying people who function like organised gangs. Power theft has taken shape of an organised crime and active police support is needed to curb this menace,” the BSES spokesperson said.
Despite efforts to reduce power theft, the electricity distribution company recovers only 30 per cent revenue from Jaffarpur Kalan, he said.
In the last five years, some 14,000 cases of power theft having a connected load of 33,000 kilowatts have been found in the area, the spokesman added.