Tinsukia: Assam police have arrested three persons, including a TV journalist, for their alleged role in an oil pilferage case in Tinsukia district.
The accused have been identified as Birbal Gohain, Jantu Moran and Amit Gogoi, a television journalist.
Based on an incident of oil pilferage in Urang Basti under Bordubi police station last month, police seized an oil tanker bearing registration number NL 02 K 7618, according to additional superintendent of police Moidul Islam. Pipes and documents were also seized, he said.
He added that the police has “evidence of involvement of other co-accused persons”.
A source said, “The racket had drilled a crude oil pipeline belonging to Oil India Limited passing through Orang Basti and were filling the oil tanker when police raided.”
He said the police seized the tanker containing 9,000 litres of stolen oil, adding that the driver and handyman of the vehicle managed to flee the scene.
The source said that oil thieves use high-pressure ball valves attached to pipe fittings and drill a hole through the valve by drawing electricity from overhead lines.
Asserting that oil pilferage is an organised crime in Tinsukia district, sources explained, “the racket has links from Tinsukia to Guwahati and sell a good portion of stolen oil to various local manufacturers of paint thinners. They are sold under various brand names and are openly available at hardware and paint shops in Tinsukia town, besides other districts.”
Sources also informed that local paint thinner manufacturers make good profit by selling 700 ml bottles of stolen oil at a price of Rs 66-72 each, mostly without GST.
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In another case, a tanker with a capacity of 24,000 litres was to be sold at Guwahati for Rs 20 per litre with a profit of Rs 8 on each litre, sources informed, adding that oil pilferage rackets earn lakhs in profit.
Meanwhile, a case was registered at Bordubi police station under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, Petroleum and Minerals Pipelines Act and the Essential Commodities Act. Further investigation is on in the case.
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