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Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan orders probe into petrol pump scam

UP police unearthed petrol pumps using a chip, costing around Rs 3,000, which controls the outflow from the machines and give the customers nearly 10% less petrol or diesel for every litre purchased.

business Updated: May 01, 2017 18:52 IST
Raj Kumar Ray
Raj Kumar Ray
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
oil,petrol pump,cheating
Union petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan addresses a business meeting in New Delhi.(PTI)

Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan ordered on Monday an inspection of all petrol pumps in Uttar Pradesh and random checks on others across the rest of the country, responding to a massive racket that cheated customers in the northern state.

He warned of strict action against unscrupulous dealers and officials, after Uttar Pradesh authorities raided petrol pumps last week over allegations that they were stealing petrol and diesel by manipulating fuel dispensing machines through remote-controlled electronic chips.

The chip, costing around Rs 3,000, is designed to control the outflow from the machines and give the customers nearly 10% less petrol or diesel for every litre purchased.

“The petroleum ministry has issued an order for inspection of all petrol pumps in UP and random checks in other states to check tampering in DU (delivery units),” Pradhan said in a series of tweets.

He said the state’s weights and measure department must ensure the filling machines were not tinkered, but oil marketing companies (OMCs) should be equally responsible and share the blame for any malpractice.

“We have initiated action against field officers. Strictest action will be taken against the culprit retail outlets in accordance with the marketing discipline guidelines,” he said.

Seven petrol pumps have been sealed after the UP police special task force (STF) raids, and about 14 people were being questioned.

The cheating got exposed after STF officers caught an electrician, based on a tip-off, on Wednesday night. He allegedly used to install the chips, which decrease the fuel discharge.

These petrol pumps were allegedly earning Rs 14 lakh a month by duping the customers, said Arvind Chaturvedi, a senior police officer who is with the UP STF.

Officials of state-run oil companies will accompany teams from the STF, the weights and measure department and the food and civil supply department for inspection of all retail outlets.

First Published: May 01, 2017 18:25 IST