UP STF unearths fuel siphoning racket, 16 arrested
STF officials said oil worth around ₹2 crore was siphoned every month.lucknow Updated: Mar 07, 2018 14:58 IST
In a major crackdown, the UP Special Task Force (STF) on Tuesday unearthed a racket involved in black marketing of petrol and diesel meant for public supply. The STF officials informed that petroleum products worth around ₹2 crore were siphoned every month from the tankers of Indian Oil depot located in Meerut’s TP Nagar.
- May 2017: The STF busted a racket involved in siphoning of public distribution scheme (PDS) kerosene in Unnao. They seized an oil tanker containing 12,000 litres of kerosene meant for supply at fair price shops for common man on subsidized rates. Cops also arrested four people including the oil dealer Krishna Kumar Maheshwari after lodging an FIR with Ajgain police station in the matter.
- April 2017: The STF had exposed a major racket after raids at multiple petrol pumps across the state in which the pump owners as well as employees were involved in tampering oil dispensers by installing electronic chips and measuring low fuel to purchasers. The chips were operated through remote devices by the petrol pump employees. Over a dozen of petrol pumps owners and employees were arrested in the matter and several pumps were sealed across the state.
STF inspector general (IG) of police, Amitabh Yash said the STF team had arrested 16 people involved in siphoning of petrol and diesel from three enclosures meant to store the stolen petroleum products located at few distance from the oil depot. He said those arrested included two owners of the enclosures, their 11 employees and three tanker drivers.
The IG said the STF sleuths seized nine tankers including five tankers full of petroleum products, huge amount of solvents meant for mixing in it, several master keys used to unlock the sealed tankers without tampering the seal, gauge to measure oil, ethanol and solvent drums, two motorised suction pumps, ₹4.95 lakh in cash and different registers to maintain the oil details.
STF senior superintendent of police (SSP) Abhishek Singh said a team led by superintendent of police (ASP) Alok Priyadarshi raided the enclosures on a specific tip-off and arrested them red handed.
Explaining the entire modus-operandi, the SSP said the enclosures where the petroleum products were siphoned and stored were made at a few distance from the oil depot as all tankers were GPS installed and their location could be tracked if they took any other route. He said the tankers used to enter into the enclosures after coming out of the depot and move towards their destination after the petroleum products were siphoned.
He said those arrested were identified as owners of the two enclosures Yogesh and Anil Chowdhary, Yogesh’s brother Lokesh, Anil’s two sons Jani and Mohit, three tanker drivers— Anshul, Ram Babu and Vijay, and eight enclosure workers Krishna, Sonu, Gaurav, Vijay, Anil, Sohanwani, Ranjit and Hamid.
SSP Abhishek Singh said the siphoned petrol and diesel were sold to local purchasers as it was an agriculture belt and had a high consumption of petroleum products in tractors, thrashers and electric generators. He said the petrol and diesel were sold after mixing solvents in it to increase the amount. Moreover, the racketeers also used to mix solvents in tankers to increase the oil level and supplied the same adulterated oil to different petrol pumps.
Around 1500 litres of petroleum products stolen per day
As per the estimated amount, the racketeers used to steal around 1,500 litres of petrol and diesel daily. “The record says that 15-20 tankers get released from the depot daily to deliver oil to different districts. Each tanker contains nearly 1,200 litres of petrol or diesel and the racketeers used to siphon around 50-100 litres of oil from every tank,” said the STF SSP.
“The racketeers daily siphoned around 1,200 litres of oil even if the conservative figure is considered. The calculation revealed that monthly they siphoned around 36,000 litres and 4,32,000 litres annually.”
The SSP added, “As this racket was operational for past many years, it would have stolen oil worth multi-crores so far.”
Role of depot staff suspected
STF SSP Abhishek Singh said the role of oil depot staff was also suspected as it was not possible that such big racket existed around the depot for so many years and they did not have any knowledge about it.
He said the arrested people were booked under different IPC sections including criminal breach of trust and section 3/1 of Petroleum Act. They were also being quizzed about the involvement of other people in the crime.