A Pune City Police investigation into a fuel theft racket, which involved stealing petrol and diesel from Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) tankers in the Loni Kalbhor area, has revealed the different methods used by racketeers.
Earlier this month, the criminal branch of the Pune city police arrested five people in the village of Walti in Loni Kalbhor as they allegedly stole fuel from a BPCL tanker truck. Stolen fuel was sold on the black market. Police had also named five other defendants, including BPCL officials, for their alleged role in the racketeering.
Among the defendants arrested were Balaji Bajbalkar (41) and Dattatraya Bajbalkar (41), who allegedly operated this racket with the help of tanker transport manager Sahil Tupe (22), who allegedly brought the tankers fuel from BPCL’s premises instead of the flight. The tanker driver Ajinkya Shirsath (26) and another defendant, Uttam Gaikwad, were also arrested.
During the investigation, the criminal branch’s social security cell seized 13 tanker trucks. The investigation revealed the use of duplicate dip gauges to falsify the measurement of the amount of fuel inside the tank trucks.
Police seized an original gauge and a duplicate, along with two other brass gauges. The seized gauges were sent for forensic analysis and a weights and measures inspector’s report was also requested. “BPCL’s security was compromised and two different plunge rods were used to steal petrol and diesel,” said a police press release issued on Friday. Police also discovered that the ‘design’ of the tanker trucks had been altered by creating ‘cavities’ inside them to steal the fuel.
Last week, a delegation from the Petroleum Dealers’ Association held a meeting with Police Commissioner Amitabh Gupta and supported a thorough investigation into the matter. Senior Police Inspector Rajesh Puranik said a report was also requested from government experts.