FIA arrests Lesco official for bribe

LAHORE: A Lahore Electric Supply Company (Lesco) official, Zohaib Dogar, was arrested by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for allegedly receiving a bribe of Rs100,000 from a consumer seeking restoration of electricity connection.

The official was caught red-handed, and the FIA team confiscated the bribe money, which was later confirmed to match the note numbers provided by the complainant.

This incident is part of an ongoing operation by the FIA against corruption and overbilling in Lesco, which has led to the arrest of several senior and junior officers in recent days.

POWER/GAS THEFT: Lesco teams detected 84,561 connections where customers were pilfering electricity in its five districts (Lahore, Sheikhupura, Nankana Sahib, Kasur, and Okara) through an ongoing campaign, says a Lesco spokesperson.

The company has also registered 78,703 FIRs against electricity thieves at respective police stations, and 32,831 accused have been arrested. Lesco has charged a total of 98.57 million detection units worth Rs3.59 billion to all the power pilferers.

In the last 24 hours, Lesco found 479 customers stealing electricity through various means, and 170 cases have been registered against the accused. Of them, 48 suspects were arrested during this period.

Among the seized connections, 16 were commercial, four agricultural, one industrial, and 458 domestic. All these connections were disconnected, and Lesco charged a total of 357,916 units as detection bill amounting to Rs11.408 million.

Lesco charged Rs264,000 detection bill to an electricity pilferer on Sheikhupura Road, Rs414,000 detection bill to another power pilferer in Sharqpur area, Rs268,000 fine in the form of detection bill to a customer in Burj Atari area, and a Rs200,000 fine to a power pilferer also in Kot Abdul Maalik.

Lesco has also been working to recover outstanding dues from chronic defaulters. On the 228th day of its recovery campaign, separate teams recovered more than Rs18.13 million from 101 chronic defaulters in all five districts. So far, Lesco has recovered a total of Rs4.36 billion outstanding dues from 103,867 chronic defaulters.

The company has collected Rs633.59 million from 15,081 defaulters in Northern Circle, Rs 994.08 million from 13,641 defaulters in Eastern Circle, Rs 618.07 million from 11,790 defaulters in Central Circle, and so on for each circle.

Also, the Sui Northern Gas Pipeline Limited (SNGLP) on Sunday disconnected another 143 connections, imposing a fine of Rs2.9 million.

The team conducted a raid at Shah Kamal Road in Kamboh Colony, where they dismantled a direct bypass installed on the main gas line. The stolen gas was being used by a tandoor and hotel. The owner had also installed two gas compressors to siphon gas.

The bypass was removed, and a request for an FIR against the suspect has been filed at Wahdat Colony Police Station. In Lahore, the team disconnected another 12 connections on illegal use of gas, and three on the use of a compressor.

The team also lodged two FIRs against gas pilferers. Similar actions were taken in other cities, including Multan, Sheikhupura, Faisalabad, Sahiwal, Bahawalpur, Gujarat, and Gujranwala.

Published in Dawn, May 27th, 2024