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Thursday, October 01, 2020

Cyberabad police bust inter-state fuel pilfering gang, 13 arrested

In a joint operation by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Police and the Controller of Legal Metrology of the two states, 11 fuel stations in Telangana and 22 in Andhra Pradesh were seized.

By: Express Web Desk | Hyderabad | Updated: September 5, 2020 7:42:13 pm
Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar, while addressing the media on Saturday, confirmed the arrest of four gang members and nine petrol pump owners from across Telangana.

At least 13 persons were arrested after the Cyberabad police busted an inter-state gang that was helping fuel pump owners earn huge margins by delivering lesser quantities of fuel than what is displayed on the filling machine. According to police, this is done by installing integrated chips (ICs) designed to manipulate fuel dispensers.

In a joint operation by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh Police and the Controller of Legal Metrology of the two states, 11 fuel stations in Telangana and 22 in Andhra Pradesh were seized.

Cyberabad police commissioner VC Sajjanar, while addressing the media on Saturday, confirmed the arrest of four gang members and nine petrol pump owners from across Telangana. With the help of inputs shared by Telangana Police, AP Police nabbed 19 fuel pump owners across AP. Seven others, including the two suppliers of ICs, are absconding.

Police found out that for every 1,000 ml of fuel, the consumer would actually be filling 20 to 30 ml less. From the accused, police seized 14 ICs (chips), eight displays, three GBR cables, one motherboard, one Hyundai i20 car, etc.

Following inputs, police have been tracking the gang for some time and when they arrived at a fuel station in Nandigama to install the ICs, they were caught red-handed, said the commissioner.

According to police, the 32-year-old kingpin of the gang, Sk. Subhani Basha, owns an aluminium glasswork business in Andhra’s Eluru town and has worked as a fuel station pump mechanic for over 10 years. He used to purchase the ICs from Jo Joseph and Shibu Thomas in Navi Mumbai. Police are on the look out for both of them as their arrest
could reveal the names of all those who have purchased the ICs from them, said Sajjanar.

With the help of mediators, Basha then started conniving with fuel station owners and installed ICs at pumps across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh for a sum of Rs 80,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh, police probe found. Investigation also revealed that the functioning of these ICs could be turned off, in the event of inspection by officials, by rebooting the
filling machine.

To avoid being caught by vigilant consumers, who fill petrol or diesel in bottles, they ensured a regular pump that was not manipulated was available at each fuel station, said Sajjanar. While the new software was installed in all fuel stations in 2018, the gang started installing the ICs since 2019. The Commissioner said that the accused
were indulging in the fraud for over a year undeteced.

The details of irregularities found in fuel dispensers have been shared with the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. Sajjanar said the vigilance teams which visit fuel stations regularly must check for such ICs in order to prevent such frauds.

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