Andhra Pradesh

Racket pilfering fuel at petrol pumps busted

Police officials at a petrol outlet that was sealed in West Godavari district on Friday.   | Photo Credit: HAND_OUT

In a joint operation, the police in association with the Legal Metrology department officials, reportedly busted a national-level fuel pilfering racket on Friday.

The teams inspected about 50 petrol outlets and sealed 16 of them in Andhra Pradesh. The Telangana police seized 13 pumps and the raids were continuing when reports last came in.

The racket was busted when the Cyberabad Police reportedly took a gang member, Mahaboob Basha, into custody, who reportedly listed out the petrol pumps in which they inserted the electronic chips (e-chips) across the country.

“Based on the information provided by Basha, the Legal Metrology and the Police inspected many bunks across the State and seized the e-chips inserted above the display boards,” Legal Metrology Inspector-General of Police (IGP) M. Kanta Rao said.

“Raids were conducted in Nellore, Guntur, Chittoor, East and West Godavari, Krishna and other districts and cases were booked against the petrol pump owners for allegedly colluding with the gang and deceiving the customers,” the IG, who is also the Controller of Legal Metrology, said.

West Godavari district Superintendent of Police K. Narayan Naik said 10 petrol pumps had been seized in Bheemadolu, Vijayarayi, Bhimavaram, Peravali, Narsapuram, Nallajerla, Satrampadu and other areas in the district. “We recovered the e-chips and booked cases against the owners under Section 420 and 261 IPC and Section 66 (d) of IT Act,” Mr. Naik said.

Modus operandi

The modus operandi of the gang is to insert e-chips above the display boards in collusion with the petrol outlet managements and deliver less quantity of fuel to customers.

“For every litre of fuel supplied , there will be a shortage of 30 ml, but the reading in the display board will show normally,” Mr. Naik said.

Legal Metrology Deputy Controller (Enforcement Wing) K. Isaac said the accused were inserting the chip without tampering with the seal affixed by the department. Cases have been registered under Section 8, r/w. 25 of Legal Metrology Act, 2009, Mr. Isaac said.

“The staff will operate the pump with two keys. Whenever the officials inspect the outlet, they will operate the pump with first key without activating the chip. For general customers, they will operate the pump with second key and cheat them,” Mr. Isaac said.

Nation-wide alert

Mr. Kanta Rao said an emergency meeting was conducted at the Legal Metrology Headquarters in Vijayawada and an alert had been sounded in the Directorate of Legal Metrology, New Delhi, and all other States.

“We suspect that the technicians of some private companies of the pumps were also involved in the racket,” the IGP said.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 4:05:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/racket-pilfering-fuel-at-petrol-pumps-busted/article32526270.ece

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