Yet another case of siphoning diesel by the "oil mafia" from a highly secure underground pipeline was reported here in the wee hours of Wednesday. Spotted by a patrolling team of the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), members of the mafia managed to give officials the slip in the dark.
The police said the persons had dug a four-foot deep ditch near the pipeline and there was a hose connected to a valve on the pipeline to siphon diesel. Even the ditch dug up by the mafia was filled with diesel, which kept oozing out from the IOCL-owned Mathura-Jalandhar oil pipeline.
A team of police and IOCL officials later inspected the spot. Indri deputy superintendent of police Gurdial Singh said no vehicle was found near the pilferage point. "We have recovered a 30-foot long hose, which was 3 inches in diameter, and connected with the pipeline. The miscreants must have spotted the IOCL team and left the spot before they could act," the DSP said.
The police official did not rule out that the mafia were successful in their attempt to siphon diesel. Singh said forensic experts had been called in and further investigations started.
The IOCL patrolling party told the police that as they were crossing the fields, they smelt diesel and, following a search, they came across the men siphoning diesel from the pipeline. In recent months, several similar cases have been reported from Panipat, Karnal and Kurukshetra districts.
A senior police functionary, who did not wish to be named, termed it an organised crime, which involved influential persons. "Only a person with skills can identify weak points and puncture underground pipelines. The stolen oil is supplied to certain petrol pumps that have sufficient space to store the fuel," a police source said.