Mumbai Crime: Brain behind diesel smuggling racket held

Updated: Oct 04, 2018, 19:39 IST | Suraj Ojha

Raju Pandit has five cases registered against him; five people have been arrested besides him

Mumbai Crime: Brain behind diesel smuggling racket held
Police said Raju Pandit is allegedly the mastermind of the racket

The Mumbai police arrested the alleged kingpin of a diesel smuggling racket in the last week of September. According to the police, the arrested accused, Raju Pandit, has five cases registered against him.

Oil on the sea
A police officer said, "On September 17 at night when people came to the beach for Ganpati Visarjan, Mumbai police patrolling in their Mumbai-10 boat saw a suspicious vessel in the Arabian sea, near Sewri jetty. When we entered the boat, no one was on board, but we found cans full of diesel." The total diesel in them was 25 lts. Police later said the arrested accused had delivered 1,600 lts diesel via the sea, on the day of the arrests.

Pandit arrested
An offence was registered against unknown persons at Yellow Gate police station, and the owner of the boat, Barkat, identified as Mohammad Shish Ansari, 58, was traced. Police then arrested another man who had hired the boat, identified as Sonu alias Jamil Qureshi, 21. A 17-year-old allegedly involved in the matter was also arrested.

During interrogation, Pandit's name cropped up, and the police arrested him from South Mumbai. Pandit has been named in a long list of crimes, three of which have been registered at the Yellow Gate police station. In 2014, he was held for smuggling oil worth Rs 1.86 crore. Police also came to know that the minor boy was used in the matter to avoid suspicion and he was promised Rs 3,000 per consignment. Police said Pandit is allegedly the brain behind the racket. Talking to mid-day, Rashmi Karandikar, DCP port zone confirmed the arrests and said ACP Lata Donde has been handed the investigation.

Other arrests
Police also seized two more ferry boats which are used to ply between the Gateway of India and the Elephanta caves. The boats are ML Sarah and Ocean star. Police arrested three people identified as Salauddin Shaikh, 30, Jahirul Islam, 25 and Arjun Pardhi 50, who work on these boats.

Ocean Star, one of two boats seized, after some staff working on them bought the smuggled diesel
Ocean Star, one of two boats seized, after some staff working on them bought the smuggled diesel

According to sources, on September 15 during patrolling, police spotted the two boats in suspicious circumstances at Bhaucha Dhakka. Police found that the accused were refilling diesel bought from smugglers on the boats. They found 305 litres of diesel which the accused had bought for between Rs 60 to 65 per litre.

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