Secret valves in transport tankers?
In January, the sampling team of the plant found that the tankers sent from IOCL Panipat, carried huge amount of water instead of furnace oil. Investigations revealed that the three tanks, which arrived on January 29 at the plant, had secret compartments to hoodwink any sample-taking team.
“There were internal modifications and the tank valve released pure oil for sampling, but released water while unloading. Two tank drivers were nabbed, while the third managed to flee,” said Vishal Agrawal, a senior member of the plant’s management. An FIR had been lodged and the drivers are in police custody. A local court recently rejected their bail plea.
IOCL officials refused help
After the incident, when officials requested the IOCL management for help, there was no response.
“Since January 30, 12 more tankers have been received at the plant and drivers detained as we wanted to carry out a joint sampling test for which the officials of the IOCL and their contracted transport agent has to be present. However, they refused to be present for the test,” Agrawal said. Plant officials added that there were three keys to unlock the tanks, of which two stay with the IOCL with the plant is in possession of one key.
Cops claim mafia hand
Mansa police, which nabbed the drivers, claim that anoil mafia from UP was behind the racket. “When we investigated in Panipat, we found that as soon as the tanks left the refinery, they stopped at the outskirts of the city, unloaded the oil and refilled water. People involved could not be traced at that location, but we are sure that there is a power oil mafia which is handling this,” said a senior cop, requesting anonymity. Police have also counter-questioned the power plant staff and claim that their ignorance was inexcusable.
“The sampling team should always be present at the time of unloading. However, we found that they usually deploy labourers to monitor the unloading. Had they been vigilant this racket would have come to light a long time ago,” said the officer.
The cops also claimed that when the motor vehicle papers of those tanks were verified it was found that despite being issued to ferry a six-chamber tank, the drivers were ferrying tanks with a singular chamber with internal modifications. The cops claimed that without the involvement of insiders within the plant this could not have been possible.
This charge has been denied by plant officials.