An engineer died in Delhi yesterday when his car rammed a tree, allegedly when he was being chased by a mob during a drive against power theft, a spokesperson of private power company BSES said. In the car four people were injured with him.
The police, however, say Abhimanyu Singh, 32, died in a suspected case of rash driving in southwest Delhi's Jaffarpur Kalan.
The BSES spokesperson said three teams went to a village on Monday afternoon following a tip-off about large-scale power theft in the area. Accompanied by the Delhi policemen with the team, came under attack and had to retreat, he said.
"The teams were chased by bike-borne goons. In the ensuing melee, one of the cars rammed a tree. Assistant engineer Abhimanyu Singh was grievously injured. He later died," the spokesperson said.
A senior police officer said adequate security cover was given to the BSES teams. "Twenty-six policemen accompanied the BSES teams. The anti-power theft drive was successful. One of the cars met with an accident. As per initial reports, no one was being chased," the officer said.
A case has been filed and the four injured BSES employees have been admitted to hospital, the officer said.
Three BSES employees and a Delhi policeman were injured in stone-throwing by residents during a similar drive on the outskirts of Delhi, in June.
"These are not isolated incidents. Efforts of the teams to check irregularities are often thwarted by law-defying people who function like organised gangs," 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.
Some 14,000 cases of power theft, in last five year having a connected load of 33,000 kilowatts have been found in the area, the spokesman added.