Fuel meant for airport siphoned off from tankers

The Food Department has unearthed a racket in which Aviation Turbine Fuel was being siphoned off by tampering with the tankers that transported fuel to the airport. This is believed to have a national ramification. Aviation fuel, which can be used as substitute for diesel, is suspected to have been sold to tar-manufacturing units.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Thursday, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao said that aviation fuel was being siphoned off during transportation to Kempe Gowda International Airport at Devanahalli. The transporters had tampered with the tankers carrying aviation fuel to facilitate siphoning-off.

He said that the tankers had been tampered with by extending the chassis beyond the permissible limits.

The department said that the length of the vehicle had also been increased proportionately mainly to shift the position of the manhole — where a measuring gauge would be inserted — from the centre of the compartment and to increase the oscillation of the stored fuel to give a higher dip-level reading.

In addition, the spring plates of the vehicles had been tampered with to slightly introduce a tilt in the vehicles to show excess reading while unloading and lower quantity at the time of loading, he said.

The racket was busted on June 19 when officers of his department seized 21 barrels of aviation fuel at a secluded place in Bagalur near Yelahanka here.

The next day, the officials detained 12 aviation fuel tankers from the unloading point and sent them to the Legal Metrology Department’s checking facility.

Various tests conducted there showed that the calibration was not only improper but also the vehicles had been tampered with.

Similarly, the Transport Department too conducted checks and detected the extension of chassis, he said. Though the drivers and other members involved escaped from the scene, the officials booked an FIR in this connection.

He said that the Food Department had brought the issue to the notice of the airport authorities as well as the oil companies, seeking their co-operation in further investigation.

Food and Civil Supplies Commissioner Harsh Gupta said that each tanker was carrying aviation fuel in excess of 150 litres and it was possible that about 1.50 lakh litres of aviation fuel was siphoned off in a month.

Aviation fuel, which cost Rs. 74 a litre in the open market, is suspected to have been sold to the tar-manufacturing units, he said.

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