The crime branch control on Tuesday busted an illegal racket engaged in pilfering cooking gas (from cylinders) and later selling it to industrial units.
Senior inspector Rakesh Sharma said that while nine persons have been arrested in connection with the racket, the kingpin, identified as Firoz, is still absconding.
Two cooking gas supply agencies at Sakinaka and JB Nagar in Andheri have come under the police scanner. More than 2,000 cooking gas cylinders (and industrial gas cylinders) were seized along with three trucks and several other equipment.
Sharma said the CB Control had been tipped off about the operation of an illegal unit in a run down godown at Gulshan compound, near Sakinaka. On Tuesday, sleuths closed in on the compound. "To our surprise, we found a full-fledged unit in the godown," Sharma said.
Sharma said the accused would procure filled cooking gas cylinders from two authorised agencies - Bharat Gas and Hindustan Petroleum - and bring cylinders to their godown at Sakinaka. Using specially designed nozzles, they would transfer limited quantity of cooking gas from the filled cylinders to a large cylinder from which gas would again be transferred into cylinders meant for industrial usage. "They would take out 2-3kg of gas from each cylinder (weighing about 14.5 kg) and return them to the agencies from where they were procured. The agencies would then supply these cylinders to customers," Sharma said, adding, "the customer would end up getting a half-empty cylinder even after paying for a full cylinder."
The filled cylinders would later be supplied to industrial units at Rs5,000 per cylinder. Sharma said they are on the lookout for the kingpin and those arrested have been booked under Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code and the Essential Commodities Maintenance Act.