IROZABAD/AGRA: Following the state government's order, the Firozabad district administration has launched a massive drive to nab power thieves. Raids are being conducted in the early hours when people are fast asleep at home, so that they can be caught red-handed. Officials informed that in last three days FIRs have been registered against over 65 people in Firozabad, while such drives are being planned in Agra and other districts also.

Dakshinanchal Vidyut Vitran Nigam Ltd managing director (Agra) Sudhir Kumar Verma said, "The case is being registered under section 135 of the Electricity Act. The violators can save themselves from criminal proceeding after paying the compounding charges. We are not publicizing our raids, otherwise offenders might get alert and will try to evade detection. Besides Firozabad, such raids were conducted in Aligarh as well. Agra will soon follow suit."

Verma informed that the department has launched two schemes to provide reliefs to such people who have not paid their bills for a long or those who are stealing electricity. In Firozabad, district magistrate Neha Sharma led the raiding parties on past two days. The raids were conducted at Station road, Karbala, Dev Nagar, Purshottam Nagar, Mahavir nagar among others.

According to officials the raids were conducted just after the sunrise when people were sleeping at home, the aim was that they could not escape their homes to avoid prosecution. Even as many people who were awake and saw us coming, they tried to flee after putting a lock at their homes. Many also tried to remove the illegal wire that they had put on the main line, but all of them were caught, said Y P Singh, superintending engineer, electricity department.[TOI]