Five people were arrested under the MCOCA provisions after they siphoned off thousands of litres of oil from the main supply line of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) in Sewri. The police’s port zone officials said, the five members of the ‘new’ gang, who had been stealing oil for the past 3 years, were earlier arrested for the same crime in 2015.
The incident came to light after the BPCL officials found oil leaking out of a warehouse in Sewri and accumulating on the road. After investigating the matter, they learnt of the theft and approached the police. The warehouse belonged to the gang, which housed tanks of 10,000 litres, 5,000 litres, in which the oil was stored. The case, however, is not new in the police books. A case of oil theft was registered by Sewri police station in May 2015. The police had then arrested Kiran Barsinghe, Samiulla Baig, Hemant Nakwa, Salim Mamdani and Feroz Shaikh in connection with the case. But they were soon out on bail.
However, after their past convictions in similar cases were found, the police invoked MCOCA and re-arrested the five accused. Another six members of the gang are on the run. “It is perhaps the biggest oil theft carried out clandestinely for such a long period. Oil companies fail to know about any illegal diversion of oil unless the quantity reduces drastically. We have asked them to conduct a check of their gas pipeline, which are over and underground as well,” said Kirankumar Chavan, deputy commissioner of police (port zone).
Officials said the gang is operated by one Saibul, who is on the run, along with five of his accomplices.