A joint team of Mohali police and excise and taxation department, Punjab, busted a fuel smuggling racket on Thursday. They seized a tanker carrying 2,500 litres of diesel illegally from Chandigarh to Mohali, while arrested the driver, besides a manager of a petrol pump.
Shalin Walia, Assistant Excise and Taxation Commissioner (AETC), Mobile Wing, Chandigarh, said that due to the difference in the selling prices of petrol and diesel in Chandigarh and Punjab, there were complaints that the fuel is being illegally smuggled from the Union Territory.
“Acting on a tip off tip-off, our team chased a tanker bearing Chandigarh registration number and intercepted it near YPS Chowk in Phase 8. Around 2,500 litres of diesel was being illegally smuggled into Punjab in the tanker,” said.
Walia added subsequent investigations revealed that it was loaded from a petrol pump, Chandigarh Petroways, in Sector-52 B and was to be supplied to M/s Kher Constructions, Chunni-Landran Road, Kharar. “The driver of the tanker, Noor Mohammad, and manager of the petrol pump Rahul Sharma were arrested on the spot, while another accused Darshan Kumar is on the run,” Walia said.
An FIR was registered under sections 420 (cheating) and 120 B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Section 7 of Essential Commodities Act, Section 9 B, of Explosives Act.
Both the accused were produced in a local court on Thursday and remanded to one-day police custody.
The AETC said the driver and manager have revealed that this is an organised racket of smuggling of petroleum products into Punjab from Chandigarh. “An invoice dated November 27 was also found from the possession of the driver. The invoice stated that he had supplied diesel earlier also to this client. He also revealed that he had other clients as well in Punjab,” Walia said.
Walia added the difference in the selling prices of petrol and diesel in Chandigarh as compared to Punjab allures the smugglers.
As on Thursday, the selling price of diesel in Chandigarh was Rs 62.78 per litre, while it was Rs 66.5 per litre in Punjab.
The selling price of petrol in Chandigarh on Wednesday was Rs 67.77 per litre, while that in Punjab was Rs 77.14 per litre.
The President of Mohali Petroleum Dealers’ Association, Ishwinder Mongia, said that they have been telling the government agencies that rampant smuggling was going on and that they also met Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal and brought the issue to his notice.
“It is not only confined to Chandigarh. The smuggling is taking place in the districts of Punjab bordering Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh,” Mongia said.
“Under present circumstances, the projected loss of the revenue to the Punjab government is approximately Rs 700 crore,” Mongia claimed.
When contacted, the phone number of Chandigarh Petroways was not reachable.