At a time when houses with 24-hour running water are much sought-after in the city, six people in Wadala managed to set one up with oil running through a tap 24X7.
The gang members had drilled a hole into the pipeline and connected their own pipe to it
The men, who ran an ingenious large-scale racket to siphon off base oil from BPCL, affixed a pipe of their own to the company’s pipeline, which ran 500 metres to an illegal shanty built by them nearby.
The pipe led to an illegal shanty with a cement tank underground. The gang would open the tap, store the oil in the tank and then sell it in drums and cans. Illustration/Amit Bandre
They would then access the oil through a tap and store it in an underground cement tank they had constructed below the shanty. They would fill up drums and cans with the oil and sell it.
Wadala police have busted the racket by arresting three people, while another three are wanted in the case. Additional Commi-ssioner of Police (south region) Krishna Prakash told mid-day “We are raiding several places and arresting people involved in the racket based on orders from our superiors.
We arrested a person who was involved in stealing oil recently and he told us that he was operating at a very small scale, but there was another gang involved in stealing oil at a large scale in Wadala. Police officials started combing the area, found the illegal pipe and arrested an accused. The whole matter unravelled after that.”
ACP Prakash said the accused took advantage of the dense greenery in the area to drill into the metal pipeline of BPCL and affix their own fibre pipe to it. The greenery also helped hide the shanty and what was going on inside it.
The police have arrested Ejaz Ahmed Khan (36), Mohammad Wasim Ibrahim Sheikh (21) and Nizam (21), who are residents of Kalyan, Reay Road and Antop Hill respectively. 107 cans were also recovered from the trio. The accused are history sheeters and have been stealing oil in the area for several years.
The police are investigating how long it has been since they drilled into the BPCL pipeline and began stealing from it. They are also hunting for three other members of the gang, identified only as Khalid, Sanju and Nadeem. Cops are also probing how the accused managed to keep their racket hidden despite such large-scale theft taking place.
Officials said oil companies should also secure their pipelines properly and conduct regular checks. ACP Prakash said the police suspect BPCL employees may be involved in the racket and that officials from the company will be called in for questioning.
Rs 48: The market rate for one litre of base oil