In a major crackdown against fuel oil adulteration in the city, the Crime Branch Control on Wednesday raided three different premises and confiscated adulterated lubricants worth more than Rs1 crore.
The officials arrested 19 men, including brothers Ganesh and Sriram Khanolkar, who were charged with manufacturing and running the racket. Their brother, Vinod Khanolkar, is still at large.
Following a tip-off, the raids were carried out on Wednesday with assistance from the Social Service Branch, said senior inspector Rakesh Sharma of the Crime Branch Control. The officials conducted raids at three illegal manufacturing units near Fatima compound in Sewri, at Anjirwadi in Mazagaon and Mahavir Estate in Dahisar (East), where several drums of adulterated fuel oil were confiscated.
Sharma said the accused would purchase a few drums of genuine lubricant of reputable brands and several drums of burnt (used) lubricant.
At the manufacturing units, they would mix the genuine fuel oil with the burnt lubricant using a special dye so that it passes off as fresh lubricant. Then several other chemicals would be added to the mixture to get the required thickness and smell.
The adulterated oil would then be sealed in drums, which would be repainted. Fresh manufacturing and expiry dates and holograms would be pasted on the drums to make them look authentic. Seals belonging to reputed manufacturers would also forged and pasted on the old drums.
Sharma said the racketeers supplied the adulterated lubricants across Maharashtra, especially Mumbai, and adjoining states. “While the manufacturing cost of a drum containing counterfeit lubricant (217 litres) would not exceed Rs 2,000 a drum, the dealers would sell each drum for Rs 20,000 to 25,000, making huge profits,” said Sharma.
He said efforts are on to identify the dealers who bought the adulterated oil. Even manufacturing firms are being questioned on how their security marks are being forged. Those arrested have been charged with cheating and adulteration and remanded in police custody.