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‘Sorry’ thieves rob JSEB

Apologetic burglars cleaned out more than Rs 86,000 from an all time payment (ATP) machine, installed by the Jharkhand State Electricity Board (JSEB) for easy collection of bills, in Ranchi on Friday.

The incident at Sainik Market in the capital’s Hindpiri neighbourhood came to light around 9am, when JSEB employee Avinash Guriya, who mans the ATP for around 10 hours from morning till evening arrived for duty.

Guriya was halted in his tracks by a marker pen message in Hindi on the machine window that read: “Matra 85,000 le ja rahe hai, SORY (I am only taking Rs 85,000, sorry)”. Later, as he went inside the kiosk, he found the machine partially dismantled. A preliminary probe showed Rs 86,150 and not Rs 85,000 missing.

City SP Anup Birthare confirmed the ATP break-in and said an FIR had been registered at Hindpiri thana.

“Investigations have begun,” he said, pointing out that the theft took place owing to negligence on the part of JSEB. “The power board did not depute a 24x7 guard. The ATP attendant left around 7.30pm last (Thursday) evening and returned at 9am to discover that the money was gone.”

Guriya told The Telegraph that the incident was unprecedented. “The ATP was installed four years ago. I have been here for a year and a half. Never heard of, let alone saw, such an incident,” he said.

He said the burglars took away the money deposited from 4pm on Thursday, when the last clearance happened. He added that the intruders had — who perceivably are weak in both mathematics and English — were smart enough to change the lock of the main gate to delay detection.

“The ATP is on the first floor of the market. They broke the grille gate lock and smashed the part-glass door to enter,” Guriya said. Besides ripping apart the machine, they even attempted to open a cash locker in the kiosk.

Statistics show around 400 JSEB consumers deposit their power bills at the Sainik Market ATP every day. The damaged machine is expected to inconvenience residents for the next few days.


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