An Uttar Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party MLA has accused the state electricity department of being “soft” and taking “selective action” in cases of power theft by people from the Muslim community.
The legislator from the Chail assembly constituency in Kaushambi district, Sanjay Kumar also threatened to raise the matter in the state assembly.
In a video, which has gone viral on social media, the MLA is purportedly heard telling a power official on phone, “Please provide me the data pertaining to the raids conducted by you in Muslim houses from April 1 till date, and also, tell me against how many people you have got FIR registered.”
The MLA, who was in the power department’s office along with other people, recently, had also said power connection of all people, irrespective of their religion, must be checked and accordingly, action should be initiated.
“I will get an FIR lodged against you (the power official),” Kumar said during the conversation.
“Go to Muslim localities. They indulge in and are responsible for 90 per cent of power theft. Provide me the data of how many FIRs have been registered against Muslims.
“I will take up the matter in Lucknow. You people have the habit of harassing Hindus only. It seems you have been soft on the other community,” he said.
Later speaking to reporters, Executive Engineer of the Power Department, Avinash Singh, said, “The BJP MLA said why is it so that there is no action initiated by the department against people from the other community. Why is it so that only his family members, relatives and supporters are targeted.”
“The intention of the state government is to stop power theft so that proper power supply is ensured,” Singh said.
The BJP MLA said that the conversation took place a few days back.
“I also want that power theft should stop and the revenue increases. I do not endorse power theft. But it seems that the raids are not carried out to increase revenue.
“They are carried out to strike deals. I am of the view that instead of punitive action, the department should take action aimed at improvement,” Kumar said.
He said there is no personal issue involved in this. It is an issue which pertains to the masses, and people had put pressure on me on why a specific community is benefiting from department’s action, the MLA claimed.
“There should be no selective action against any community, and action should not be initiated against electricity consumers on the basis of religion,” Kumar said.
He claimed that an FIR which was registered against a doctor owning a nursing home eventually turned out to be false.
“I have already written to the Speaker of the UP legislative assembly, and will aggressively pursue the matter in the next session of UP legislative assembly,” he said.
During his telephonic conversation with the official, the MLA had also said, “I will get an FIR lodged against you.”
However, when the official said he will get his transfer done, Kumar said, “Even if you get a transfer, you will not be spared.”
He also accused Superintending Engineer Tareeq Jaleel of indulging in black marketing of transformers.