Rs 68-lakh fine slapped on Surat school for ‘power theft’

The school in Olpad taluka had allegedly been drawing power directly from a transformer for almost a year. DGVCL names three school trustees in FIR

Dakshin Gujarat Vij Co Ltd (DGVCL) has slapped a fine of Rs 68.27 lakh on a private school in Olpad taluka of Surat district for alleged power theft. DGVCL's vigilance officials also lodged a police complaint against the authorities of Shanti Asiatic School Saturday.

Sources said that acting on a tip-off, DGVCL's vigilance department officials carried out a surprise check on the school near Narthan village on the Surat-Dandi road on Friday and found the school illegally drawing power from a nearby transformer.

The school principal and trustees reportedly told officials that the primary section started functioning a year ago and had been drawing power directly from the transformer.

Sources said the school had applied for power connection (commercial purpose) from DGVCL, which they were yet to get.

Officials cut the illegal connection later in the day and issued a bill of Rs 62.5 lakh and compounding charges to the tune of Rs 5.77 lakh. "We have slapped a bill of Rs 68.27 lakh on school authorities and have also register an FIR against the trustees," said Vigilance Officer G B Desai.

Those named in the FIR are Vedprakash Chirimal, Jyotiprasad Chirimal and Deshbushan Singhal. They have been charged with power theft under Section 135 of the Indian Electricity Act.

When contacted, school principal Menaxi Janoo said, "We are looking into the matter of power theft and the raid."

Meanwhile, the school has declared a holiday till further order.

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