It is sold at less than market price to customers, mostly lorry and cab drivers

Diesel from vehicles belonging to the Police department is being pilfered in connivance with their drivers and sold at a discount in Pudupet.

Against the market price of Rs. 51 per litre, pilfered diesel is sold for Rs. 40 to Rs. 45.

Investigation by The Hindu has revealed that there are over two dozen shops in Pudupet — all in the vicinity of a parking lot for mini-lorries on Langs Garden Road — that stock pilfered diesel and sell it to customers familiar with the trade.

Buy 10 litres, get 2 extra

“You get 10 litres of diesel for Rs. 450. Most police drivers are generous: in case you buy 10 litres, you get two extra litres free,” said a shopkeeper on West Cooum River Road.

The parking lot, capable of holding over a hundred mini-lorries, was established on Langs Garden Road after the Chennai Corporation removed encroachments by Cooum River.

At times, the customers — mostly drivers of mini-lorries and cabs — fill up directly from police vehicles under the supervision of agents in the lorry parking lot.

The investigation by this paper, which took place over several weeks, found police vehicles, both old and newly-inducted, stealthily parked in the lot on Langs Garden Road.

The pilferage usually begins by noon and carries on till late in the afternoon. The quantity stolen is never too high to avoid arousing suspicion in the department.

On Tuesday, four police vehicles (two Tata Sumo, one Ambassador and a Mahindra jeep) were seen entering the parking lot at 3.45 p.m. in a space of ten minutes.

As soon as the vehicles arrived, men involved in the racket positioned themselves near their fuel tanks. By 4 p.m., all the police vehicles left — lighter by several litres.