A heated swimming pool, several elevators, a mini-air conditioning plant that kept his sprawling home temperature-controlled – all these contributed to former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav's home over-drawing power.
On Wednesday, three cars with a dozen officials from the power department swooped down on Mulayam Singh's home in Etawah in Western UP, which has around 12 bedrooms after being remodelled last year, and carried out a spot check. "We are conducting a drive to stop power theft, check overloading and recover dues," said Ashutosh Varma, who led the raid. "The house had a 5 kW connection when it needed a 40 kW line."
Mulayam Singh, 77, was in Lucknow, when the officers discovered that his home was drawing eight times the sanctioned limit of 5 kW. The former chief minister owes Rs4 lakh in unpaid electricity bills for this property and has been given till the end of the month to make the payment.
Officials changed the configuration to allow him 40 kW - the amount that's being consumed now - but he will have to pay for the larger allotment.
The raid was part of the 'No VIP' emphasis of BJP chief minister Yogi Adityanath's new government in Uttar Pradesh. Mulayam Singh's Samajwadi Party was in power till March, when the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi won the prize state with the biggest mandate of any party in nearly three decades.
After taking office a month ago, Yogi Adityanath has made it clear that his administration will focus on curtailing the rampant corruption that is synonymous with Uttar Pradesh. He has also pledged to cut the "goonda raj" or lawlessness that he says flourished during the governments of Mulayam Singh, his son Akhilesh Yadav, and their political rival Mayawati.