Investigation into the theft of crude oil from Cairn Oil and Gas in Barmer has unearthed a racket of crores of rupees in which a gang of over 100 people, including company employees, was involved. Twenty-five accused have been arrested so far.
They stole 10 million litres of crude oil every year from the company. In the last 4-5 years, 40 million litres of crude oil was stolen and sent to Gujarat, Kolkata, Delhi and other states.
The racket has incurred a loss Rs 45-50 crore to the state government. Looking at the seriousness of the issue, senior officers of the state petroleum department have reached Barmer to investigate the matter.
Meanwhile, district collector Shiv Prasad Nakate has ordered an investigation on many points including explosive licence of the factory, revenue loss to the government, etc.
“For the administrative investigation, officiating food and civil supplies officer and district land acquisition officer Ashok Sangwa has been made the investigation officer. He has begun the investigation,” Nakate said. It is being investigated whether the factory, where the crude oil was kept hidden in underground tankers, had explosive licence.
The investigation will cover many legal points. “The entire matter is associated with security as Cairn Oil and Gas is under strict vigil. Despite that, the theft took place, which is very serious. At present, police are investigating the case and the petroleum department officer has also reached here for a probe,” Nakate added.
Barmer SP Gagandeep Singhla, in a press conference on Friday night, said that on July 14, 2017, a case was lodged at Nagana police station by Cairn Oil and Gas stating that crude oil instead of producer water was filled in tankers and stolen.
Every day 15,000-20,000 litres of crude oil was sold to the factory owners, Singhla added.
As per the present rate, every day the company was suffering a loss of Rs 3 lakh, Rs 90 lakh a month and Rs 11 crore a year. Over 100 people including tanker owners, drivers, helpers, factory owners, production and unloading point surveyors, HSE technicians were named in the case. “Cairn and police are jointly investigating the matter. We are extending all cooperation to the police and district administration in the investigation,” said spokesperson, Cairn Oil and Gas.
Along the southern area of Cairn Oil and Gas, 44 tankers belonging to Narendra Road Lines and Mohangarh Construction Company were pressed for transporting crude oil. Of them, 39 were involved in illegal business. Thirty-three tankers have been seized.