KE chief, other officials booked after teenager dies of electrocution in Karachi

Published August 11, 2020
Nepra had last month taken "serious notice" of the deaths recently caused by electrocution in Karachi. — PPI/File
Nepra had last month taken "serious notice" of the deaths recently caused by electrocution in Karachi. — PPI/File

The chief executive officer and other senior officials of the K-Electric (KE) were booked after yet another unsuspecting citizen lost their life due to electrocution in Karachi on Tuesday.

The first information report (FIR) of the death of 19-year-old Faizan, who was electrocuted reportedly while taking a photo, was registered at Defence police station on the complaint of his uncle, Mohammad Fayyaz.

In the FIR, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, Fayyaz stated that Faizan, who was a resident of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa's Mansehra district and worked in the transport business, drove to Karachi on August 10 and spent the night at his uncle's residence in the Qayyumabad neighbourhood.

On the morning of Aug 11 (today), Faizan along with some family children went out for a walk. At around 8:45am, however, somebody informed Fayyaz that Faizan had died after suffering an electric shock at a KE substation in Defence Housing Authority Phase VII extension, according to the FIR.

On reaching the scene, Fayyaz, a rickshaw driver, said he found Faizan's body lying in the substation and subsequently took it to the Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Centre (JPMC), where doctors confirmed his death.

Quoting eyewitnesses, the FIR said Faizan was taking a photo near the KE substation where some water was standing on the road. Because the substation had no gate, electric current travelled through the water to Faizan, leading to his death due to electrocution, it added.

The FIR stated that the teenager's death was caused due to the "negligence, carelessness and lack of precautions" by KE CEO Moonis Alvi, distribution head Amir Zia, senior security officer Defence IBC Faheem and assistant manager Defence Owais.

The FIR has been registered under Section 322 (manslaughter) read with Section 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

The deceased's uncle stated that they do not want a post-mortem performed on Faizan's body and want to transport it to their native village in Mansehra for burial.

Meanwhile, a KE spokesperson said in a statement that the incident was caused due to unauthorised tampering and trespassing inside a live KE substation "which is highly dangerous".

The statement said another incident reported in Quaidabad had occurred inside a house "which should not be attributed to KE" because it was an "internal wiring" issue at the premises.

The statement added that "KE has reiterated that the safety of human life remains the topmost priority of the company and on this account the power utility has been urging citizens to maintain a safe distance from power infrastructure through safety awareness messages".

Unauthorised tampering and encroachment of sensitive electrical infrastructure damages equipment and can cause fatal electrocutions.

The development comes a day after Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed expressed serious displeasure over the performance of KE during a hearing in Karachi. The top judge had said that the CEO and other officials of the power utility should be booked and prosecuted as a number of people had been killed due to electrocution during recent rains in the city.

At least 20 people lost their lives due to electrocution over the past month-and-a-half as monsoon rains lashed Karachi, wreaking havoc on the city's municipal and power infrastructure.

Last month, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) had taken "serious notice" of the deaths recently caused by electrocution and invited the public to submit evidence in this regard.

Nepra had last year formally held the KE responsible for 19 deaths from electrocution in Karachi and started legal proceedings against it. It had subsequently slapped a fine of Rs50 million on the power utility after finding that the deaths had occurred because of electrocution "due to lack of earthing of LT/HT poles and leakage of current from the distribution facilities of KE".

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