Mangaluru: Caught on camera: Billing agent makes business out of tampering water meters

Pics: Meryick D'Silva
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru (DV)

Mangaluru, Feb 12: A sting operation has revealed the shocking way in which some billing agents tamper with water meters, in order to 'help' you pay less than the actual amount and in the process, dupe the MCC of lacs and probably even crores of rupees. Needless to add, they also charge you for the service, thus making a lucrative business out of tampering.

The video was stealthily captured by Dr Deepak D'Souza, professor at Yenepoya University and member of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

The video shows an authorized water billing agent, identified as Thaufiq, tampering with the water meter and issuing the reduced, manipulated bill to the building owner at Bendur.

Dr Deepak D'Souza said that the meter reader with the MCC who came to issue water bill to his apartment, offered to provide him a manipulated bill by tampering the meter. He also demanded a fee of Rs 300 per Rs 1000 he reduced from the actual bill.

The agent reduced the water bill from Rs 21,000 to Rs 6,000 by tampering the meter, causing a loss of Rs 15,000 to MCC. He then demanded Rs 2,500 as his commission. The agent opened the water meter using a hammer, reversed the reading and fixed it back. He claimed that no one can spot the tampering as the seal remains intact, adding that it was a secret between only him and the owner. He also added that he does not do it for everyone but only for a chosen few.

He also claimed that when he came four months ago, he had stopped the meter from running which meant the water consumption was not recorded during this period. In the video, he said he started the meter again with a slight increase to save money.

In the video, the agent also admits that he has been faking the water bill for a few builders in the city. He apparently gives commission to other officers in computer section at the MCC and to the joint engineer (JE).

When Dr Deepak brought this menace to the notice of Lokayuktha officer, he expressed his helplessness about the menace and informed that the billing has been outsourced to private agency and that the meter reader was a private employee.

Dr Deepak approached MCC commissioner Hephziba Korlapati regarding the manipulation of meter and water bill, she assured to study the case and take adequate measures. He expressed his concern over the loss to the MCC revenue. The MCC normally earns a revenue of Rs 35 crore from the 80,000 connections within its limits.

At a press meet held here on Thursday February 12, AAP demanded a time-bound probe into the matter and suspension of the contract with the private agency. The party also demanded recovery of the loss suffered by MCC, and technical review and replacement, if needed, of all existing meters in the city.


Agency changed: Mayor

Speaking to daijiworld, mayor Mahabala Maarla said that the MCC received several complaints of water meter tampering by billing agents, and since February 1, the contract has been given to another agency. "The billing agent is not authorised to open the meter. He can only take a photo of the reading which gets uploaded on the system. Any further complaints can be brought to the notice of MCC. Dr Deepak D'Souza who shot the video can meet me in person," he said.


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Comment on this article

  • Wilson, Kinnigoli

    Tue, Feb 17 2015

    Everyone in the administration is involved in these kind of things. To put it simple "You scratch my back & I will scratch yours"

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Vivs, Mangalore

    Sat, Feb 14 2015

    Lokayukta or any other competitive agency should take up the matter of MCC water bills scam.All the water bills of builders and developers for the past 10 years should be checked and bring to the notice of the general public.People have no faith neither in Congress nor in BJP.So AAP should follow up the matter. The concerned officers of MCC and billing agents should
    be punished for their crime.The names of the builders, MCC officers and billing agents should be published in the news papers.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • AAP fan, mangalore

    Sat, Feb 14 2015

    suspect details:
    Name:- Thoufiq polali (suspect)
    s/o- Usman and Asiya
    native place- Polali , Kalkuda

    He is got job 2 years ago as a water billing agent at City corporation.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • Joe D'Souza, Mangalore

    Fri, Feb 13 2015

    Mr.Stan from Dubai,sending the complaint to a Minister is like throwing a Coin into the Ocean. How many Criminal Ministers we have as Law Makers. They make the Law to fit their pocket.
    Next public should catch the Street light scam. There is a street in Kadri ward where one light pole is 150ft from main street. Next one is almost 150 ft. Third one is only 20 ft. Question is Why? Last light pole lights up the Property of a wealthy family. One suggestion to Public.
    Stand near any school in the evening or in the morning. Lights of the Institution will turn on when street lights comes to light. Surprise! you are paying the bill.
    I met one employee of the Electric Dept. and He agreed with me. But He is afraid to do any action because elected officials could be part of it. Religious Institutions also rob the City by lighting their Parking lots or replicas of Gods.
    How many properties have 2 water line connections. One with meter and other without. Tank with meter has overflow float Valve. Meter less one does not have because it is free and can overflow.
    Sometime back I caught a tanker filling the tank with Drinking water in a private property. I got a hint by thinking deep. For what price this driver sells this expensive water. So I checked the sight after Tanker left to find out builder who owns the Property removed the meter and transporting the water to His building sight. I got it shut down by City Crew. How many laks City lost.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [4] Reply Report Abuse

  • raj, mangalore

    Fri, Feb 13 2015

    So apparently even mr deepak was involved. Since previously he encouraged the act.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [3] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kusuma Kumari G, Nellore/Kodyadka

    Fri, Feb 13 2015

    First of all why is the goverment outsoursing many things to priavte agencies. That itself is a mistake.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Kusuma Kumari G, Nellore/Kodyadka

    Fri, Feb 13 2015

    Deepak Dsouza is caught in wrong foot. Now a case is filed against him for not filing a complaint.Anyway I am glad the forensic medicine professor has exposed this criminal offense at right time when AAP won Dlehi elections,Deepak Dsouza sir can contest for AAP from mangalore elections

    DisAgree [4] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Dinesh Kunev Baliga, Mangalore

    Fri, Feb 13 2015

    Intentions of sting operation are not straight forward.
    Timing of Exposing immediately after Delhi Victory is wrong but sure for cheap publicity for APP where shrewd 3 seems innocent people seek glory for party and themselves. Hope they drew attention of AK in Delhi. Act is good but intentions were of cowardliness.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rita, Germany

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Everywhere dirty Business.Ellaru kallaru.even in electric bill methods is not better.Electrician self stops his home meter from running saying is not working.and fone at the costof other users from above the pole.who is better and who is not?why did they not inspect the bill makers accounts or house with the help of lokayuktha?or many are involved in this chain?everyone is trying to make Money at the cost of govt.Good that someone had the idea of submitting with Video.catch hold others also so.specially Panchayat or gramsangha workers.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • L N Rego, Bendur

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    When public creates awareness and fights against corruption the nation will benefit. Kudos to Dr Deepak.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Adithya, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    I request Daijiworld to make a separate section to bust wrong or unethical practices which people are aware off. Any concerned department can look into it and if more details are sorted it could be emailed to the authorized persons. I am sure 1000's of cases will come out. What say people? Like???

    DisAgree [1] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shekar Moily Padebettu, Udupi/India

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Commission,omission and submission etc are the part and parcel of each and every government departments.Without that government machinery won't work.Rest is all eye wash just to fool the public.Whoever it may be,whether guy sitting on the top or in the bottom,without commission,bribe respective files will not move from one table to other and get your work done with due knowledge of everybody.Public are bound to pay because their work should get done at the earliest possible.Show one place,where bribe or commission is not taken over the table or under the table.Without these activities how one can own branded car,branded house with all the modern facilities,ammunities.Rest is all mystery.

    DisAgree Agree [13] Reply Report Abuse

  • Zakir, KSA

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Very good job by Dr.Deepak, good person from a good political party...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [30] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rishi Menon, mangalore

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Mr Lingappa this is not ur forum u open ur own n then rant ...
    corruption cannot be stopped in India its in our genes .. we r onthe adjust walpi jaath n bypass malpi jaath ...

    DisAgree [2] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • Lingappa, Kuppepadav/Amsterdam

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Yaar,, Firstly stop this AAP ranting in this forum. He or they have a long long way to go prior ruling India if at all they do. Were are the KHANgress elected muncipal people to take care of this.???

    DisAgree [52] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Flavian, Mangaluru/Kuwait

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Superb job done by Dr. Deepak D'Souza.

    New breed of good guys following in the footsteps of Kejriwal. There are lots of other areas where people can use their brain to trap corrupt officials.

    DisAgree [3] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rudolf, Mumbai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Though what this guy has done is wrong, Meter tampering could be rampant as this guy said everybody is involved right from the users, readers, officials, regulators etc. so why single him out, he is the weakest link in the chain and a soft target, rest all are indirectly involved and cannot be indicted legally!!

    Public memory is short, a few months ago there was a news report that a reputed biz house running a dental college was drawing huge amounts of electricity illegally for years causing loss of crores to the exchequer, and this was brought to light by a whistle blower, what happened to that case is anybody's guess!!

    When such so called 'respected' groups and people who hold high esteem in society are freely doing and encouraging it, what is the mistake of this guy who is definitely taken away by the lure of quick money, his mindset would be if well respected people want to do it then why not collude with them and earn some quick bucks!! It is very easy to point out fingers and apprehend the small fishes, but the real doers escape!!

    We are now living in totally hypocritical times, but the people who get caught are only the lowly, poor, and weak whereas the big fishes who encourage such activities move around in society with virgin white clothes and white boots with their heads held high and are respected in society!! This is the irony of the world!!

    "Jo Pakda Gaya Woh Chor Hai Jo Bach Gaya Woh Siyana"!! Jai Hind!!

    DisAgree Agree [33] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajendra Kumar, Mangalore

    Fri, Feb 13 2015

    Here is an activity caught on the camera showing tampering of the water meter. It is nothing to do with a party/ideology/propaganda. The basic issue is someone is misusing his role and thus cheating his employer/urban body who hired his services. Only suitable punishment for the person is the answer for this. The urban body which hired this service should take measures so that they do not lose revenue because of these activities.

    DisAgree Agree [2] Reply Report Abuse

  • stan, dubai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Mayor Mahabala Maarla said that the MCC received several complaints, but some truck with sand goes to his house or MCC building than only he will take action.May be he is getting commission from these illegal activities?

    DisAgree [3] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • JNB, Bejai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015


    2 days before I stopped one tipper truck driver who was carrying sand from Ullal to Mangalore city and asked hi the rate per truck, he said Rs:45000/- .
    I asked him he got any permit? he said mining department stopped issuing permit from last 7-8 months and not renewed anybody's previous permit too.
    I asked him so many trucks running around in Mangalore City limit too and also out side city, so many constructions are under progress,,, how they will get enough sand and how construction is possible without sand 1:7 to 10times of cement ( every 1 ration of cement 7 to 10 times sand is must)
    He said this all money making drama
    No permit for Sand-mining, transport, only pay AFTHA top to bottom-line and get your work done.
    If sand is stopped like beef slaughtering thousands of people from sand to construction unemployed in Mangalore itself.

    We need AAP in Mangalore very Badly.
    I a ready to render my service to AAP all tie.

    DisAgree Agree [32] Reply Report Abuse

  • JNB, Bejai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    *** rate read as Rs: 4,500/- (four thousand fiver hundred per truck load)

    DisAgree Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • pks, mlr

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    johny mera naam chori mera kaam.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Shankar, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    AAp should work in the direction as guided by Dr. Deepak in this report.
    Jadu lena aur safai karna. All indian citizen too support AAp activists bring out the corruptions happening in the public offices.

    Leave the governance to BJP.

    DisAgree [18] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • habib, Mangalore

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Good idea government will give bail and remove all cases from corrupted people like yaddy and reddy.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mohandas Kumar, Kanekarabettu

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    AAP members also make sting operation at Mangalore Junction(Kankanady Railway station)There is big racket Takkal Railway ticket.Railway counter staff,Railway Police entertaining only some agents and making money.

    DisAgree Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ashok Shetty, shirva

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Mr. Marla, you have to go and meet Mr. D'souza,not he has to come and meet you. He provided evidence to you and your job to investigate and take proper action . May be you have also some commission.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [37] Reply Report Abuse

  • Koti , Kundapura

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Dsouzere jagrathed unthule. Namma deshod kelav sarthi yedde bele bari pirya burund.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [69] Reply Report Abuse

  • gm, mlur

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    Totally agreed.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [41] Reply Report Abuse

  • stan, dubai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    This is the lesson taught to us by our elders. Please just write a letter without your name, mention the corrupt officials name, address etc. and without your name please send copies to Police commissioner, Minister, MLA etc. At least the corrupt officials name will be with them. whether they take action or not. But I am sure one day some one will take action. If we hide than the cheating/ corruption will increase.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Koti , Kundapura

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    I said the same thing in one sentence with multiple meaning.

    DisAgree Agree [16] Report Abuse

  • jacintha, middle east

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    One must become AAP member, if not politically, at least socially, to weed out corruption COMPLETELY.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [86] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    These people will only understand the language of the ZADU ...

    DisAgree [4] Agree [76] Reply Report Abuse

  • stan, dubai

    Thu, Feb 12 2015

    We have AAP is in news today.... hope AAP members will work for betterment of Government and people. Keep it up Sir.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [85] Reply Report Abuse

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Title: Mangaluru: Caught on camera: Billing agent makes business out of tampering water meters

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