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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

LPG bomb ticking over Patna

Avinash Kumar, Hindustan Times  Patna, October 11, 2012
First Published: 13:48 IST(11/10/2012) | Last Updated: 13:49 IST(11/10/2012)

The LPG cylinder in your kitchen might be a time bomb waiting to explode! Surprised? Well, take a closer look at your cylinder to identify its make. It might not be an original.

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And, it could be reaching you not from the open market, but through your official agency, but still a fake. The matter came to light on Wednesday when the economic offences unit (EOU) of Bihar police carried out raids at the godown and the office of RK Avenue in Patna. The police also raided the Boring Canal road residence of managercum-caretaker of the agency, Jawahar Lal.

The agency is in the name of a physically challenged ex-serviceman, Vinod Kumar, but Lal was actually running it. The police recovered over 450 cylinders, which did not conform to the laid down safety parameters. The cylinders were illegally supplied by Ginni Industries, Tatisilvai, Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Though Ginni Industries is an authorised supplier to Indian Oil Company (IOC), it cannot make supplies directly to agencies.

On investigation, the police discovered, that the cylinders had been illegally procured in connivance with the supplying agency, said ADG (headquarters) Ravindra Kumar, adding, EOU IG Praveen Vashisht had got the tip off about illegal practice at the gas agency.

Kumar said, acting on the tip-off, an EOU team comprising of nine sub-inspectors led by DSP Mohamamd Moqueem impounded the entire consignment from Jharkhand just when it was being unloaded from a truck at the godown located in Jakaria Gali under Ramkrishna Nagar police station of the state capital. Prima facie, the cylinders looked different.

Most of the cylinders had local paint, were empty and without safety caps,h he added.

The police detained six persons, including Binod, Jawahar and his son Vicky as well as a driver and cleaner of the truck.

During interrogation, they confessed that the practice was on for the last 10 years at the rate of four truckloads of empty cylinders every month.

At the godown, these cylinders were mixed with genuine cylinders.

The modus operandi was to the send the mix of genuine and fake cylinders to the Gidha bottling plant of the IOC at Ara for refilling.

The connivance of some officials at the bottling plant cannot be ruled out, as the practice has been going on for a long time and the officials have never reported this.

They could also easily identify the fake cylinders. Besides, there must be a limit of refilling, said the ADG.

The police also recovered a large number of fake consumer cards, papers, packing wrappers and caps from the residence and office of the agency.

The EOU had specific information, that the consumption of LPG in Patna far exceeded the legitimate supply from gas companies, said Kumar.

He said, there were many such complaints and the police would look into all of them. There will be thorough investigation into the matter to get to the bottom of the racket.

What we have stumbled upon might just be the tip of the iceberg.

The instances of short supply and cylinder blasts might be attributed to this, he added.


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