Ramar Pillai, who hit the headlines in the late 1990s claiming to have invented ‘herbal fuel’ for use in automobiles, was sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Egmore, on Thursday on charges of entering into a criminal conspiracy and cheating the public.
Four of his associates — R. Venudevi, S. Chinnasamy, R. Rajasegaran and S.K. Bharat—were also awarded similar punishment. The Magistrate also imposed a fine of Rs. 6,000 each, according to a press release issued by the Central Bureau of Investigation on Friday. The CBI had filed a charge sheet against Ramar Pillai and his associates after they allegedly sold industrial organic chemicals to the public, claiming it be herbal fuel.
According to the CBI, during the years 1999 and 2000, Ramar Pillai, in collusion with a few others, mixed petroleum products and marketed the same in the name of “Ramar Petrol/ Ramar Tamildevi Mooligai Eriporul”, as if it were extracted from herbs.
The “herbal fuel” was sold as automobile fuel. Preliminary investigations revealed that the fuel was merely a mixture of prohibited petroleum products.
It was alleged that Ramar Pillai misrepresented the facts and sold the product as “herbal fuel” to the public through various sales outlets across the State. He had allegedly gained Rs. 2.27 crore by cheating the public.
A case was registered under Sections 120 B (criminal conspiracy) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 (1) of the Essential Commodities Act and Motor Spirit and High Speed Diesel regulation, distribution and prevention of malpractices order.