Oil deposited by large vessels at the BPT jetty would be drained by the pilferers from a hole drilled into a pipeline, and then sold in the black market; 1,350 litres of the fuel recovered
In a major blow to the flourishing oil mafia in the city, the Property cell of the Mumbai crime branch has busted a rampant oil racket at Mazgaon, arresting five racketeers in connection with the same.
Crime branch officials revealed that the arrested accused would habitually pilfer lubricant oils from the Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) pipeline that extended from the BPT jetty to the HPCL terminal in Mazgaon, Byculla. Officers have recovered about 1,350 litres of the fuel from the arrested.
The accused, identified as Yogesh Yadav, Shiva Godha, Mohammad Shaikh, Amin Mandal and Mohammad Mistry, were produced before the Esplanade court yesterday, and have been remanded in police custody till September 16.
"Large vessels empty lubricant oils on the BPT jetty, which is then conveyed to the Mazgaon terminal for further processing," said Himanshu Roy, joint commissioner of police (crime).
"The oil is transported in a pipeline which begins from Mahul road. The pilferers had punctured the pipeline near the mangrove swamp in Mahul. Whenever oil, deposited by a vessel, flowed into the pipeline, they would use a motor pump to drain the oil and then sell it in the black market," added Roy, adding, "A team was formed under Police Inspectors Arun Chavan and S Pasalvar, and Assistant Police Inspector I Gopale, after we received a tip off. The pilfered oil was being sold as at the rate of Rs 100 per litre. The racket had been flourishing for a long time."
Cops have recovered 29 drums full of oil from the racketeers, which contain about 1,350 litres of oil.
The arrested racketeers have been remanded in police custody till September 16. Cops are now investigating the possible hand of an HPCL employee in the racket.
"We have recovered oil worth Rs 2 lakh from the arrested, and have established communication with the HPCL authorities about the same," Chavan said.