Power theft scam: Apex court dismisses appeals; trial to resume from today

In a significant development, the Supreme Court has dismissed an appeal filed by city-based Bhushan Industrial Corporation (BIC) managing director Brij Bhushan Singhal challenging framing of charges against him ordered by a special CBI court here in 2006.

The apex court has also dismissed an appeal filed by former executive engineer/power controller V K Mehndru of the electricity department, UT Chandigarh, and five other public servants. They had approached the Supreme Court against an order of the special CBI Court, Chandigarh, which had framed charges against them in connection with a case of power theft amounting to Rs 30.65 lakh.

The development assumes significance since the Supreme Court seven years back had stayed the order of the CBI court bringing the trial to a grinding halt. With the apex court dismissing the appeals, the trial will now resume from Saturday.

It was in September 2006 that the Punjab and Haryana High Court had dismissed an appeal filed by them against the orders of the special CBI court. Aggrieved, they had moved the Supreme Court which had stayed the trial court orders.

The CBI had investigated the case pertaining to the power theft that took place between April 1985 and July 1988 when the petitioner-accused had wilfully and fraudulently prevented the meter from duly registering the supply from D-3 feeder of the Bhakra Beas Management Board sub-station in Sector 28, Chandigarh, from where the power was supplied to the BIC.

Thus, they allegedly caused a loss to the UT electricity department, as also the Haryana State Electricity Board with their alleged acts. A total of 1,17,45,906 units of power were allegedly siphoned off by the accused in conspiracy with each other.

All of them had been ordered to be charged with criminal conspiracy under Section 120-B of the IPC and sections 39, 39-A and 44 of the Indian Electricity Act, 1910, and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

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