Discovery of theft of a massive amount of petrol from a pipeline of the Mathura Refinery has sparked investigation into what police said was a highly organised racket.
2017.02.25, Agra (TNN): Discovery of theft of a massive amount of petrol from a pipeline of the Mathura Refinery has sparked investigation into what police said was a highly organised racket. While the Indian Oil Corporation has estimated the amount of petrol stolen at 1 lakh litres in February, investigators said the racket had been going on since September last year and the actual amount could be much higher.
The oil pilferage came into light on the night of February 16 when, during patrolling, refinery guards found an oil truck parked near a pipeline which supplies refined petroleum to Jalandhar.
Mathura Refinery manager Virender Kumar filed an FIR against unidentified men at the highway police station in Mathura and mentioned an estimated “100 kilo litres” (1 lakh litres) had been siphoned off so far.
“A trench was found to have been dug at the spot, which is 9.1 km from the refinery complex. The thieves were siphoning the petrol from the high-pressure pipe network. Digging a trench around the pipeline and then stealing oil from the pipe in this manner is the work of a team of experts. Without proper knowledge of oil pipelines, this sort of thing can’t be done safely,” Kumar told TOI.
“Our initial assessment is that close to 1 lakh litres was stolen on the night of February 16, but since the racket seems to have been going on for months, we believe the loss is much higher. The actual figures will be arrived at after the plant at Bijwasan, near the Kapashera border, confirms to us about the amount of oil they have received over this period,” Kumar added.
Mahesh Kumar Mishra, deputy inspector general of police of Agra zone said, “There is a group of nearly 17 men including members of the oil mafia, policemen, refinery staff and local labourers, who are involved in this oil pilferage. They have been active since September last year. Till now we have arrested four men and have come across at least 10 more names.” A prominent businessman of the area who owns several petrol pumps and is suspected to be involved in the oil mafia is also being investigated, police officials said.
The apprehended men have been identified as Ram Hari, Ravi Chaudhary and Tarvenderjit Singh, who is a petrol pump owner in Agra. They have been booked under relevant sections of the Petroleum and Mineral Pipelines Act, Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, Explosive Substances Act, Essential Services Amendment Act and the Indian Penal Code. “Three men, identified as Chetan, Gema and Ravi alias Viddhi from Faridabad were called to dig the trench and help in siphoning the oil,” officials added.