Gang of high-tech oil thieves busted, one nabbed

With the arrest of one person, police on Friday claimed to have busted a high-tech gang involved in multiple cases of oil theft across the country.

New Delhi: With the arrest of one person, police on Friday claimed to have busted a high-tech gang involved in multiple cases of oil theft across the country.

Acting on a tip-off, police officials yesterday arrested 42-year-old Avtar Singh alias Bittu, a member of the gang, from Chander Vihar in west Delhi, police said.

The gang came under police scanner when they received a secret information that the gang members of an organised gang reside in Chander Vihar area who are expert in committing theft of fuel from pipelines with a unique modus operandi.

"A core team was formed and briefed about the significance and ramifications of the case and was duly motivated to leave no stone unturned in cracking the gang. All the informers were activated. The probable hideouts were kept under watch for the last several weeks which finally led to the arrest of Avtar Singh," said DCP (West) Pushpendra Singh.

Put under intense interrogation the arrested accused confessed to his involvement in an oil theft case in Punjab's Bhathinda on March 26 this year from where the gang stole 12,000 litres of fuel.

"On the said day, Singh and his accomplices namely Rinku, Iqbal, Swaran Singh, Kala, Raju and Shamsher Singh had left Delhi after making all planning and preparation to commit the theft of fuel from a pipeline of Indian Oil Corporation running underground from Panipat to Bhatinda commonly known as P B Pipeline," the official said.

The gang used two vehicles - an SUV car and one oil tanker and reached Bhatinda. During the night, the SUV was parked in front of a restaurant at road side while the tanker was driven close to the pipeline through a 'kachcha rasta'. Equipments like spade, iron pipe, welding set, drill machine etc. Were on the oil tanker.

"They dug a pit to reach down to the pipeline. Thereafter, they connected an iron pipe with the main pipeline and pumped the fuel into the oil tanker through a rubber pipe. After filling about 12,000 liters of fuel, they refilled the pit with the soil and went to Jalandhar to sell it out to unscrupulous elements," said Singh.

According to senior Telecom and Instrumentation Engineer (NRPL), IOC, the offence of this type of theft is committed by a very well-organised criminal gang, taking the risk of fire hazard of very high intensity, police said.

The quantity of stolen fuel was so high that the pressure of fuel in the main pipeline registered a decline at the control room of Indian Oil Corporation on the basis of which the staff was activated and the place of incident was detected in a remote area near Balianwali.

Accordingly, a case under sections of Explosive Substances Act, 3-4 Prev. Of Damage to Public Property Act and 15/16 of Petroleum Mineral Pipeline Act 2011 was registered the next day at Balianwali Police Station in Bhatinda.

An inquiry launched by the core team revealed that Avtar Singh and other gang members are quite expert in their work. He came to Delhi in 1994 when one of his friends suggested him the same for earning easy money. Punjab police is being informed accordingly.

Further probe in the case was underway and efforts to nab other absconding members of the gang were on, police said.

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