‘The money was good if we took care of everyone’ | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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‘The money was good if we took care of everyone’

I was involved in the oil adulteration racket for nearly three years before I decided to get out of it and move to farming.

mumbai Updated: Jan 29, 2011 00:41 IST

I was involved in the oil adulteration racket for nearly three years before I decided to get out of it and move to farming.

I got into the business soon after the oil depots were set up here about 15 years ago. It was a lucrative business and since opportunities were available, I saw it as a good way to make quick money.

The business had its rewards and I soon started flourishing. It carried few risks and people were open to making money.

We would speak to drivers at roadside eateries and most of them would agree to help us because it would earn them good money too.

They agreed to stop tankers at places we had identified and allow us to steal the fuel.

In those days, tankers were sealed. We would break open the seal and take out small quantities because a loss of small quantities would not be noticed. We would then re-seal the tanker’s outlet with help from the driver and the cleaner.

They charge according to market rate. If the price of kerosene in the open market is Rs20, then we would pay them a lesser amount, say Rs10 — 15.

Similarly, we would pay Rs 25-30 for petrol if it costs Rs35 in the market. We would mix it at pre-decided locations and then sell it to vehicle owners, farmers and everyone who was willing to buy the fuel for a lesser price.

The money was good provided we took care of the people in the administration and the police. Money was delivered to every department concerned. Every department gets at least Rs1.5 lakh a month. The payment is on monthly basis and depends on how much each operator makes every month.

Oil adulteration is almost like a cottage industry here. What can people do?

There are no industries and not everyone has farmland big enough to cultivate and expect good income.

I decided to quit when I realised that along with money, there came many other troubles — the raids, police cases, losses and constant pressure from the police and other officials.

I quit about five years ago and became a farmer. It is not as paying but at least I have peace of mind.

* (Name changed to protect identity)

— As told to Shailendra Mohan