48,000 litres of naphtha meant for petrol adulteration seized

CHENNAI NOV. 1. The Anti-Adulteration Cell of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas on Friday seized two lorries transporting 48,000 litres of naphtha, allegedly meant to adulterate petrol in Chennai.

The lorries, on their way to Chennai, bearing 24,000 litres of naphtha each, totally worth Rs. 6 lakhs, were seized when they were parked in front of a restaurant on the Chennai-Bangalore Highway in Vellore district. The vehicles were handed over to the Civil Supplies CID.

Four persons were arrested and a search was on for the consignee in Chennai.

The vehicles were allegedly "waiting for instructions to move to a destination in Chennai, where the naphtha was to be mixed with other solvents, before being used to adulterate petrol", said V. Sithannan, Deputy Superintendent of the cell. The seizure was made based on information on trucks transporting naphtha from Maharashtra to the city suburbs.

In this case, the lorries were carrying the petrochemical from a company in Nandurbar district of Maharashtra. The consignment was booked by Ramdev Chemicals with a fictitious address in Chennai.

Interrogation of the drivers revealed that the address given in the invoice was fictitious and the loads were meant to adulterate petrol in retail outlets (petrol bunks), according to a release.

Mr. Sithannan said the drivers claimed they had been waiting for instructions from Babu Bhai, who had earlier been implicated in a naphtha smuggling case, to deliver the consignment.

"The modus operandi was to mix naphtha and benzene with petrol and sell it to customers with the connivance of retailers."

More details, including the identity of retailers through whom the adulterated petrol was to be sold, could be obtained only after the consignee was arrested.

Only last month, three trucks carrying 72,000 litres of naphtha were seized.

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