With the arrest of four persons, the Rohtak police claimed to have busted a gang of oil thieves, who had stolen at least 27,000-litre oil from the pipeline of Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) passing through the district from Bahadurgarh to Ludhiana.
The accused have been identified as Vijay, Virender, Satbir and Naresh, all residents of the district. Acting on a tip-off, the police raided the fields of Khidwali village, from where the HPCL pipeline passed, and arrested the accused, who had developed an indigenous mechanism to steal oil.
On the modus operandi of the accused, a police spokesperson said: "The accused had dug a hole in the fields and used to steal oil by using a valve and, thereafter, used to transfer it into small tankers to transport it to other places."
He said: "The police are interrogating the accused to know if there were more people involved in the crime."
Meanwhile, senior superintendent of police (SSP) Vivek Sharma had written a letter to the HPCL office, enquiring about the agency entrusted the job of preventing oil pilferage. Sharma asked the officials as to why the pilferage was not being taken seriously by the company.
The SSP said if any employee of the HPCL was found involved in the crime, a strong action would be taken against him. Sources said the police doubted the involvement of company officials in the crime as theft of such a large scale could not go unnoticed.