Former K'taka CM Kumaraswamy pays Rs 68 526 fine for 'stealing power'

    Bengaluru, Nov 17 (PTI) Former Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy said on Friday that he has paid a fine of Rs 68,526 for drawing electricity from an illegal connection to illuminate his JP Nagar residence here during Deepavali, but termed it as "unjust and excessive".
    However, the JD (S) state unit president protested the way the fine amount had been calculated and found flaws in the FIR registered against him.
    Kumaraswamy, son of former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda, alleged a political witch-hunt against him for being vocal against the ruling Congress government.
    In a letter to the assistant executive engineer of Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM) vigilance police station, Kumaraswamy blamed the electricity contractor hired by his staff who had for testing purposes drawn a wire and connected it directly to the electric pole opposite his house.
    "Immediately after coming to know the same, I informed my staff to disconnect the wire from the electric pole. I was not at home when this illumination work was being carried out or was being tested and I was in my house at Bidadi, Ramanagara District. The electrician worked on his own independently, without my knowledge," he explained.
    The FIR registered against him is flawed with defects, as the complainant, being BESCOM assistant executive engineer, has stated that he had personally seen the theft taking place but the facts were contrary to the claim, Kumaraswamy said.
    According to him, the BESCOM engineer who registered a case against him made it clear to him that he came to inspect the residential building after seeing the video on electronic and social media.
    "In the face of an unjust and excessive demand for payment to be made, it is my right as a consumer to voice my concern and protest against such practices," Kumaraswamy said.
    Blaming the ruling party for registering a case against him, he said, "I am of the opinion that this is a political witch-hunt against me for the series of tweets and press meets conducted by me in connection to mismanagement of power sources against the present government which is run by a rival party headed by my arch rivals and also the head of the states ---CM/DCM, who have given statements to the electronic media that I have committed a theft of electricity."
    In continuation to their statements in the media, one of the officers had broken the official rules and given a press statement without the permission of the (Electricity) Board, Kumaraswamy alleged. This displays that officers were influenced to act as per instructions of their political heads to tarnish his name for an act committed by the electrical contractor.
    Kumaraswamy found himself at the receiving end on November 14 when the Congress alleged that he had stolen electricity to illuminate his house during Deepavali.
    The ruling party also posted a video showing a power connection being drawn from the electric pole to Kumaraswamy's house.
    "The lone honest person in the world HD Kumaraswamy's JP Nagar residence was illuminated with decorative lights with illegal power connection directly from the electric pole. It is a tragedy that such poverty has struck a former CM to steal electricity!" the Congress wrote on the micro-blogging site 'X' at the time.

(This story has not been edited by THE WEEK and is auto-generated from PTI)