IMPHAL, May 25: On follow up investigation of the petrol racketeering gang, carrying out operations at Khurkhul Makha Laikai yesterday, Sekmai police have arrested three individuals allegedly involved in the crime.
In the meantime, Consumer Affairs Food and Public Distribution minister M Okendro has stated that an effective system has been devised to properly distribute PDS items throughout the state and prevent black marketeering.
Sleuths of the Special Intelligence Unit (SIU) yesterday launched twin strikes at Khurkhul Makha Leikai and seized 34,000 liters of Kerosene oil from two different locations.
Along with two tanker trucks, various equipments and storage tanks were seized.
Sekmai police in the follow up investigation arrested H Sagar Singh, 39, s/o late H Shyam Singh of Khurkhul Makha Leikai. The said person is the landowner where the adulteration operations were conducted. Another person is identified as Khaidem Hemchandra,38, s/o K Heramani of Khurkhul Makha Leikai, (also a land owner), and driver of the seized tanker truck, namely one Narayan Sharma,27, s/o late Momon Sharma of Kanglatongbi. The trio has been remanded to police custody till May 28 after being produced at the concerned court.
A press release by SP, Imphal West meanwhile states that the kerosene stored at Khurkhul was meant for distribution for Kangpokpi area and it was sold to the racketeers by K-oil dealers at an exorbitant rate. Imphal West police has registered two cases under the Essential Commodity Act against the culprits.
However, the release of the SP failed to mention the arrest of the three individuals mentioned above.
In the follow up independent investigation by IFP, it was learnt that the tanker trucks transporting petrol/kerosene/diesel are escorted under strict protocol. The tankers are hired from private owners by IOC and each truck has their supply records with the IOC at Chingmeirong oil depot. The trucks has to first deposit their challans (bills) to the IOC,then the product is quality checked by the SDM of the depot and afterwards given written instructions of the petrol pump to be unloaded. The petrol pump is also mandated to check the quality of the petrol before downloading. It may be mentioned that, M/s Krishnapremi Oil City on May 22 was closed down by FCS officials for selling adulterated oil, which exemplifies that petrol pumps are not adhering to the norms for selling unadulterated petrol and conniving with the black marketers.
Further , the two tankers seized by the police yesterday came from the IOC depot and had their schedule for delivery. The records are kept with the SDM of the depot.
IFP reporter today went to the IOC depot to inquire into the matter with the SDM(depot), namely one S I Singh. The request of the reporter was not entertained by SI Singh without giving any reason, thus withholding information which would be essential in disseminating further news regarding kerosene allocation to the public. It may be mentioned that the allocation of kerosene for the districts of the state is public information.
According to the driver’s confession to the police yesterday, it was learnt that one kerosene consignment was meant for Kangpokpi to be delivered to a dealer, namely one Chongjahoi.
In a similar manner, the officer in charge of Sekmai police station also asked IFP reporter to wait when requested permission to gather information about the kerosene seizure.
The OC, Akoijam Premjit told this reporter, “What further news do you have to publish, everything was reported !”, he added that there might be some difference in his report with that sent to the SP, Imphal West. He stated that all information can be had from the SP and requested this reporter to meet the officer. The OC also refused to provide information about the total recovered amount of kerosene.
According to the SP’s release, the quantity is stated to be 35 KL, but sources stated that the quantity is much higher. To confirm reports,this reporter went to Imphal West district police headquarters to meet the SP in the evening, but he was not available.
It may be said here that, according to IFP sources, the racketeers involved in the clandestine operations enjoy enormous clout with a top politician. It was also learnt that the three arrested persons are just small timers whereas the main kingpins still remain at large.