Several petroleum dealers in Anantapur are supplying diesel to the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) at a “competitive price” by quoting the lowest bid at the depot level.
While the refining companies give ₹2.15 per litre as commission to the petrol pump owner, a few of them are bidding at ₹3 or ₹4 per litre less than the consumer price, allege a few dealers, saying there is more to it than meets the eye.
The APSRTC switched over to buying diesel from the local dealers at “competitive” price after the petroleum companies increased the price for bulk consumers from March 2022.
This apart, there was a ban to procure diesel from the neighbouring States despite a difference in retail price by ₹10 per litre to ensure the government did not lose VAT/Sales Tax revenue.
When contacted, members of the petroleum dealers’ association told The Hindu on condition of anonymity that despite the raids by the GST/Sales Tax officials, five tanker loads of diesel were entering Anantapur district daily on an average from Karnataka. A few political leaders were also vouching for it.
A petroleum dealer said there was a ban on supply of diesel by any retailer / dealer beyond 2,000 litres and that the supply to the APSRTC was against the norms framed by the IOCL and HPCL. Any supply beyond 2,000 litres should be in barrels and not by tankers, the dealer claimed.
“How can the government buy diesel at a price lower than the purchase price of the dealer? This smacks of wrongdoing in the whole process,” he alleged.
He further alleged that a few dealers were taking remote petrol pumps on lease, procuring diesel in the name of that dealership, and supplying the same to the APSRTC.
“These suppliers source diesel from Karnataka at ₹10 a litre less and supply the same to the RTC at dealer price, or at a lower rate allegedly with the connivance of the RTC personnel procuring fuel for the government department,” he alleged.
The Sales Tax Department had issued challans to a few dealers for procuring diesel illegally via Hindupur and imposed on them a tax of ₹20 lakh and ₹6 lakh twice.
Despite this, tankers were still entering Anantapur and Kurnool districts, the association members alleged.
The issue was taken to the notice of the Ministers and other people’s representatives, but to no avail, they alleged.