TODAY -
Fuel cartel makes hay with fake keys to oil tankers
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 08, 2009: Police are yet to arrest the driver and the owner of the oil tanker, which caught fire, while siphoning off fuel on the sly at Shantipur in Awang Leikinthabi under Sekmai Police Station on August 29.

The site which was razed in the Aug 29 fire during siphoning off fuel and the fake key embossed at Shantipur in Awang Leikinthabi under Sekmai Police Station on August 29.


On the other hand, an independent investigation conducted by The Sangai Express on how siphoning of oil in unauthorised manner from the oil tanker could be possible, have led to the discovery that some of the drivers and the owners of the oil tankers use fake keys, which work as well as the orginal ones.

Taking serious note of the incident that could have endangered the lives of many people, Sekmai Police Station registered an FIR against the driver identified as Tomba and the owner identified as Rajen under the relevant provisions of the Petroleum Act, 1933.However, the police have not been able to arrest them as both the accused have fled.

Talking to The Sangai Express in this connection, Officer in-charge of Sekmai Police Station said that police have issued an arrest warrant against the driver Tomba and the owner Rajen.

But both have gone hiding although unofficial source said that both of them surrendered before a Court.

The matter would be known within the next couple of days.

The CO pointed out that siphoning of oil in unauthorised manner had led to major fire incidents at Moirangkhom, in front of Uripok Jas Gas, Lamshang, Kwakeithel and Kakwa Nameirakpam Leikai in the past.

In an independent investigation conducted into the modus operadi of siphoning off fuel, it came to light that some of the drivers and owners of the oil tankers maintain counterfeit keys.

Soon after filling the oil at Tinsukia, the IOC officials have to lock the tankers.

One of the keys would be in the custody of the IOC officials at Tinsukia while another key would be in the custody of the IOC officials at Chingmeirong.

At the time of unloading the oil at the Chingmeirong oil depot, the responsible IOC officials have to unlock the key.

At any point in between Tinsukia and Imphal, the drivers are not permitted to unlock the keys and locks of the tankers are manufactured by Godrej Company to ensure prevention of possible tampering.

Interestingly, counterfeit keys that can unlock the locks of Godrej Company can be made in Manipur today.

According to reliable sources, drivers and owners of the oil tankers can easily get these counterfeit keys by paying Rs 2500 and there are some drivers who are in possession of these counterfeit keys in Manipur.

The sources further disclosed that there are around 20 places in Manipur where siphoning of oil in unauthorised manner and then adulterating the content of the oil tankers before being unloaded at the depot is being carried out.

Even the people of the localities know about these illegal practices which could even endanger the lives of the people and cause damages to their properties in case of mishap.

Yet no one has lodged any complaint in this regard.

Some of the oil tanker drivers whom The Sangai Express came into contact during the course of the investigation admitted that some of the drivers do possess fake keys and the incident of an oil tanker on catching fire at Shantipur in Awang Leikinthabi recently occurred while the lock of the tanker was being opened with counterfeit key to siphon off the fuel.

The drivers further disclosed that earlier oil tankers which do not fulfil the safety norms were allowed to unload the content at the oil depot after the security at the gate charged money from them.

But nowadays, all the oil tankers regardless of whether they conform to the safety norms or not are being charged anywhere between Rs 50 to Rs 100.
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