By Paojel Chaoba
IMPHAL, May 24: In the first ever operation of the newly constituted Special Intelligence Unit (SIU) a petrol adulteration racket was uncovered, while approximately 55,000 litres of Kerosene and petrol were seized from two separate locations at Khurkhul Makha Leikai under Sekmai police station, Imphal West district today.
The Special Intelligence Unit was recently established under the Imphal West District Police of the Manipur police organization.
Several iron tanks and plastic polymer tanks holding up to 2000 liters and more each of kerosene and ‘zero density petrol’ were found stored at the said twin locations.
Two tankers unloading kerosene at the spot were also seized by the police sleuths. The raid was conducted at around 4 pm today.
It was learnt that the illegal hoarding and mixing of kerosene has been happening at these locations for the last few years. The mixed petrol is further loaded to tankers for further supply to petrol pumps in Imphal area and other districts.
It may be mentioned that M/s Krishna Premi Oil City at Moirangkhom was raided by officials of the Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution (CAFPD) on Tuesday and the pump had been sealed for selling adulterated petrol.
The modus operandi of the racketeers involves contracting kerosene tankers. The tankers which brings in the product from Tinsukia Oil Refinery, Assam arrive via NH 39 escorted by the CRPF, the tankers later arrive at Khuman Lampak as a transit point and ‘challans’( bills) prepared there are submitted to the IOC at Chingmeirong.
Then the tankers unload the pilfered product at the said location at Khurkhul and kept stored inside the storage tanks. Chemical treatment including hydrochloric acid is put in a specific quantity to remove the blue tint of the K-oil.
Afterwards, the zero density petrol (also brought from Myanmar ) is mixed with the color removed Kerosene, bringing up the specific density of the ‘mixture’ to that of petrol. Finally, a chemical coloring agent is added to dye the mixture to resemble actual petrol.
The mixture is then reloaded to the petrol tankers for distribution to the oil pumps.
The racket has been going on for the last 5/6 years. Kerosene costing less than Rs 15 per liter at the government rate after mixing with the zero density petrol which cost about Rs 35 per litre. The ‘mixture’ is then sold at Rs 64.56 since yesterday, making a profit of more than 50 % per litre.
The racket is said to be masterminded by some top politicians and individuals in cahoots with them. The area used for the conducting the candlestine operation at Khurkhul is leased at Rs 7,000 per month.
The raid conducted today was led by inspector K Ranjit of the SIU.
Later reinforcements by SDPO Lamphel H Balaram,MPS and Inspector AK Premjit, officer in charge of Sekmai Police Station arrived at the spot. IFP reached the spot at the same time.
The team found 20,000 litres of zero density petrol and 17, 000 liters of kerosene at the first spot.
A tanker MN-O1/6029 having capacity of 12,000 liters belonging to one Tarpon of Kangabam Leikai, Imphal was seized while downloading the oil.
The implication was made by the driver and handyman of the truck at the location of one Heisnam Sagor, 35, s/o late H Shyam of Khurkhul Mayai Leikai. Recovery included 2 packets of chemical coloring agent, barometers and density Hydrometers with a printed list needed to specify the approved density of the mixure. Several pumps, pipes, containers of different capacities were also seized by the police. A fake signboard “Sekmai Kerosene Agency” was advertised at the first spot.
At the second spot, the SIU seized one oil tanker (MN-O1/4617) having capacity of 18,000 liters of kerosene belonging to one Ingocha of Thoubal was seized, the landowner’s name is one Khaidem Hera, aged 65, s/o late Pathon of Khurkhul Mayai Leikai. A formal seizure memo was prepared and the illegal petroleum products were loaded to the seized empty trucks.
When contacted over the phone CAFPD Minister M Okendro told IFP that the action of the police needs to be applauded. He stated that the concerned culprits will be booked according to the law.
It may be mentioned that Kerosene is a controlled item of the government, distributed to the public through the Public Distribution System and not to be sold individually. While there is at present complaints from all sections due to unavailability of Kerosene, the same is being sold at local vendors at a cost of Rs 50 /60 per litre. The source of the kerosene and to which assembly constituency it should be distributed is being investigated by the police the source.