On the face of it, it was just any other dhaba on the Delhi-Jaipur highway. But for those who were running the eatery, it was a front to pilfer crude oil from a pipeline that ran behind the roadside eating joint.
The gang, whose five members have been arrested, was involved in eight such cases in the past and they used to remain on the look out for such points. Once they had filled enough tankers, they would sell the oil to factory owners around that place and start hunting for another place where they could pilfer oil from a pipeline.
“Five people, including two receivers and the tanker driver, have been arrested. They used to sell one tanker for R6 lakh and have so far confessed their involvement in eight such cases,” SBS Tyagi, DCP (crime), said. The accused have been identified as Mohd Shamid, Bishan Singh, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Ashok Kumar Jain and Sunil Tiwari.
During interrogation, Shamid told the police that in September they had taken a dhaba on rent which was situated in front of the pipeline of an oil company in Chandbagh, Jaipur.
“At night they dug a hole in the pipeline with the help of a drilling machine and fixed a valve in the hole. From that valve they connected a pipe and filled a tanker parked nearby. After filling the tanker they unplugged the pipe from the valve and covered it by sand to reuse it later,” Tyagi added.
The gang used to sell the oil with the help of Ashok Kumar Jain and Mukesh Kumar Gupta to one Dinesh Kumar Shukla. Dinesh Kumar is an active member of the gang and provides the tanker to the gang.
In 2010, the gang, under the leadership of one Shamsher Singh, dug a 170-feet tunnel from a rented godown to an IOC pipeline in Jhajjar, Haryana, and fixed a plastic pipe to steal oil. The pipe, which passed through a residential area and agricultural land, got damaged during tilling of the field by farmers and crude oil spilled over the field.
The gang fled from their rented godown when they came to know about this.
The oil pipeline that was coming from Gujarat goes to Mathura and Panipat refineries and the gang used to target both these lines. The company officials had filed eight FIRs in Rajasthan and Haryana and the gang is suspected to have sold oil worth crores of rupees.