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Conviction in power theft case upheld

Staff Reporter

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of a businessman in a power theft case, rejecting his plea for setting aside the trial court judgment on technical and procedural grounds.

Convict Mukesh Rustogi, a resident of Jahangirpuri in North-West Delhi, had sought quashing of the judgment on three grounds. First, the officers who had inspected his residential-cum-business premises were not competent ones authorised by the Delhi Government under the Electricity Act. Second, complainant and distribution company NDPL had not followed the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.) relating to search and seizure. And third, the trial court had failed to appreciate that the description of the material used for stealing was different from the case property produced before the court.

Dismissing the grounds of the appeal, Justice S.N. Dhingra said the case could not fail merely because there was a lapse on the part of the complainant if it was sufficiently proved by other evidence that electricity was being stolen.

“The officials working in the enforcement department of the complainant company (NDPL) are not trained in investigation and it is a new job for them. It may take some time for them to learn the technicalities of investigation,” Mr. Justice Dhingra observed. “I consider that even if the inspection was not a valid one, the complainant had a right to prove the theft of electricity against the convict irrespective of the status of the inspection. The invalid inspection does not make theft a non-crime,” Mr. Justice Dhingra stated.

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