Inter state petrol racket busted: Thane police have unearthed a major inter-state petrol racket spreading across Maharashtra. It has been learned that there was nexus between officials of six prominent companies and petrol pump owners. They were cheating consumers by filling less fuel than what customers were charged for, according to Indian Express report. During investigation, police had found that electronic chips were being used in petrol pumps to dispense less quantity of fuel than what was displayed on the vending machines. Apart from several petrol pumps across Maharashtra, police said that consumers were cheated in other states, the IE report. This comes after a similar racket was busted in Uttar Pradesh.
Apparently, technicians involved in fitting these petrol vending machines were suspected to be involved, Thane Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh told The Indian Express. There are six major companies, also known as Original Equipment Suppliers (OES), that supply these vending machines across the country, he said adding that police were taking the help of these companies to zero in on the technicians involved in the scam.
Police have so far found at least 11 petrol pumps in Thane, Bhiwandi, Kongaon, Pune and Nashik to be allegedly involved in the racket and arrested seven people since June 16. Police said that in a petrol pump in Thane, for 5 litres, the machine dispensed 4.8 litres petrol. In Kongaon, it went down to 4.3 litres, 700 ml less than the quantity the customer paid for, he told IE.
The technicians also allegedly made changes to the software in the vending machines to ensure that the display panel featured a higher amount than the actual quantity dispensed. Besides, they would also make changes to the keypad attached to the vending machines. A senior official said that police suspected 90 per cent of the roughly 6,000 petrol pumps in the state to be fudged.
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In Uttar Pradesh, police found that when the chip was activated, the machine dispensed less fuel than the quantity for which the customer is charged. The device, costing around Rs 3,000, reduces the fuel output by 5 to 10 per cent. It has a wire linked to a remote control, which is used to manipulate the volume. If a customer takes one litre petrol, he would end up getting 940 ml or less, according to PTI report. Petrol pump owners in UP had protested police action after the fuel shortchange racket was busted, the report says.