A multi crore scam in “Mahavitaran”
Crores of rupees collected by tampering with assessment bills
Misadventure of Superintendent Engineer of Vashi circle
The burden of loss on Mahavitaran’s lakhs of consumers
The state government is accused of shielding the guilty
Mumbai: Rajaram Mane, the Superintendent Engineer of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Co. Ltd (MSEDCL) (Mahavitaran)’s Vashi circle has allegedly tampered with electricity bills of hundreds of power consumers and has thus defrauded the state exchequer of crores of rupees.
While it has led to the huge loss to the MSEDCL, the hundreds of power consumers are bearing the burden of this loss and unfortunately top level MSEDCL officials are shielding the guilty. This has been proved by documents in possession of “Sprout”.
Due to COVID-19 pandemic and resultant lock downs across the country, including Maharashtra, people are frustrated physically, mentally and economically. Despite this the state government has issued inflated power consumption bills to the consumers. Not only this but the Government also sternly threatened consumers to disconnect power supply if they fail to pay the bills in time.
At the same time Mahavitaran’ s Superintendent Engineer Rajaram Mane of the Vashi circle
has defrauded the government by tampering with electricity bills in collusion with top officials.
With a view to boost the industry the Mahavitaran supplies power at industrial rates to the companies in the state. The rate is minimal. The Mahavitaran recently sent assessment bills
to some of the companies, with an allegation that they have been violating norms.
As per section 126 of the Electricity Act 2003, a penalty can be imposed upon any consumer, if the consumer gives wrong information. This section stipulates the recovery of the bills for the last two years at commercial rate and the recoverable amount could be double the original amount with fine. The consumer has the right to appeal within one month, if the bill is inflated or erroneous. The superintendent has powers to withdraw the bill if the justification given by the consumer is found to be correct. Mane has alleged misused this provision and collected crores of rupees by making “adjustments” in the bills. Several consumers have complained to the Mahavitaran about this.
Mane sent inflated bills to many companies to collect money underhand and also tampered the bills of many companies and incurred the loss to Mahavitaran. Now gullible consumers will be required to face this loss willy-nilly.
The complaints about these irregularities have been made to Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, Energy Minister Nitin Raut, MSEDCL’ ex Managing Director Asim Gupta, current MSEDCL Director Vijay Singhal and other officials. But no action has been taken against the guilty.
Mane could not be reached. When contacted MSEDCL’s CPRO Mamta Pande said that she had no information about these irregularities.
“Sprout” has collected vital documents related to this scam. The Government should conduct a thorough probe of this multi-crore rupees scam and suspend all those involved in the scam. The failure to probe the scam may invite a massive public agitation, Janata Dal (North West Mumbai) President Sanjiv Kumar Sadanandan said.