A petrol pump in Hadapsar area was sealed by the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) on Wednesday after its owner allegedly tampered with the fuel dispensing unit by installing an electronic chip in it. It is the first petrol pump in Maharashtra to be sealed for “indulging in fraudulent activity to cheat customers”.
“We have received instructions from our sales team to not supply fuel to the Hadapsar petrol pump, as the pump has been sealed…,” said B Bhaskar Rao, deputy general manager of HPCL in Loni. Despite repeated attempts, the sales personnel of HPCL were not available for comment.
The sealing of the pump led to the cancellation of the owner’s licence, said HPCL officials. The owner of the pump, reportedly the general secretary of a pump dealer’s association, has been absconding since the raid was conducted. HPCL officials said the action against the pump is part of their drive to ensure “clean fuel and honest trader practices”.
At least two other petrol pumps in the state are also likely to be sealed as they had also tampered with the fuel dispensing machines to cheat customers, said the All India Petrol Dealers’ Association.
In May last year, a special task force of Uttar Pradesh Police and the Crime Branch of Thane Police had arrested Avinash Manohar Naik, a resident of Chinchwad, and Vivek Harishchandra Shetye, a resident of Thane, for their connection with a large-scale scam in several petrol pumps across the country. These petrol pumps were found using remote control-linked electronic chips in their fuel dispensing machines, in order to cheat consumers by providing them less fuel than what they had paid for.
Shetye was allegedly involved in manufacturing electronic chips and installing the software, while Naik was allegedly involved in assembling and supplying the remotes, which were used to tamper the fuel dispensing units at the petrol pumps, said police.
In the wake of this scam, the Uttar Pradesh Police had urged the Petroleum Ministry to conduct checks at all petrol pumps in the country. Later, after special permission was granted by Director General of Police Satish Mathur, the Crime Branch of Thane Police started raiding petrol pumps across Maharashtra.
In July last year, Thane Police, along with police teams from Hadapsar, had conducted checks at petrol pumps in Dapodi, Sangvi and other parts of Pune.