LAHORE - Lahore metropolis leads all other cities of Punjab in terms of gas theft, statistical data available with The Nation indicates. The FIA detected gas theft to the tune of Rs2.105 billion per annum in this region.
During raids carried out by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) over a period of one month, it unearthed estimated annual gas theft of worth Rs2.152 billion across the province, out of which theft of worth Rs2.105 was being committed in Lahore region alone.
In all, the agency arrested 16 alleged gas thieves from across the province. Six persons were arrested from Lahore including one Haseed Rana, Admin Manager of M/S Aws Traders – 12.5 kilometre form Lahore, near Sheikhupura – who alone was allegedly involved in theft of gas worth Rs2.08 billion per annum.
Zafar Ullah Khan, owner of Malik Dying and Washing, Ravi Road, was found to be involved in theft of gas worth Rs177 million per annum, through bypassing the gas meter. Among others accused are: Khan Plastic, Mughalpura, Lahore; Azad Chemical Factory, GT Road Muridke; Khalid Plastic Centre, Village Abdul Khair, Sheikhupura; Tayyaba Industries, Shahdra, Lahore; hotel Royal Plaza, Shadman Market, Lahore; and Alam Bakers, main GT Road, Muridke.
In Faisalabad, gas theft was negligible, mere of worth Rs150,000, as per data maintained by FIA Anti Electricity and Gas Theft (AE>) Cell. No arrest was made there in this regard. In Gujranwala, gas theft was found to be of worth Rs17.22 million and FIA arrested 10 accused. Among the firms involved in theft were: Rehman Pura Housing Society, Ali Pur Road, Qilla Deedar Singh, Gujranwala, Mandhar and Apple Layer Boiler, GT Road, Morr Aimanabad, Gujranwala, Sighaar Marriage Hall Emanabad Road, Sialkot, Pak Sadaf Surgical Factory No-1, Ugoki Road, Shahab Pura Sialkot, Noor Marriage Lawns, GT Road, Ghakar Mandi, Gujranwala, Wer Tax School of Management, Shadman Colony, Gujrat and Faiz Sweets and Bakers, Alam Chowk, Gujranwala.
In Multan region, gas theft of worth Rs30 million was unearthed with no arrests and those involved in theft included M/S Younis Brother Industries, Gaggo Mandi, tehsil Burewala district Vehari; Ali Ice Factory; Mirza Saeed Spinning Factory, BC Chowk Multan, Yaqoob town Vehari Road Multan; and Javed Oil Mills, opposite Allah Tawakal CNG gas station, Multan.
A senior officer of FIA seeking anonymity said that campaign against electricity and gas theft was eyewash as big thieves who are well-connected with the power corridors are never arrested.
He said even the parliamentarians were involved in gas theft, including an MNA from ruling PML-N and another from the PPP. It is well known but nobody ever dare arrest them, he maintained.
An FIA investigator said that the agency was bound to charge an average bill of only six months to a firm found involved in gas or electricity theft, though in many cases it is established that the accused firm has been involved in theft since long.