Fraud by remote control at Keonjhar petrol pump

Post News Network

Keonjhar, Nov 16: Being shortchanged at petrol pumps is a fear shared by all drivers, and that fear came true for truckers topping up at a petrol pump along NH-49 at Khireitangi under Turumunga police limits in Keonjhar district.

Turns out the man running the petrol pump had latched upon an ingenious plan to tinker with the meter in such a way that motorists would be paying for more than the fuel that they got.

The man who runs the petrol pump – who has not been named by police – is the husband of the pump owner and has now been detained by police for interrogation. The man is posted as a doctor at the Padmapur community health centre (CHC), sources said.

The scam came to light after truckers noticed something was amiss when they were paying almost Rs 6,000 more to top up their tanks than usual. A few truckers then set about getting to the bottom of the mystery and unearthed an elaborate mechanism that involved a staffer of the petrol pump discreetly operating a remote control to tinker with the meter.

The truckers then seized the equipment and handed it over to police. Initially, three staffers of the filling station were detained. The doctor was detained in the wee hours of Monday while he was dismantling a pump machine and shifting it elsewhere in his ambulance. The pump machine was also tinkered with, police said.

Truck owners have meanwhile demanded a Crime Branch probe into the incident; they are worried that this is not a one-off case and that such a practice might very well be prevalent in other parts of the state.

A staffer of the petrol pump (requesting anonymity) has confided that the illegal practice was being followed for a long time, and went on to state that some officials of the weights and measures department and an oil company were in cahoots with the pump owner.

“We felt we were getting around 200-300 ml less for every litre of diesel at this particular pump. While a truck’s fuel tank is topped up for a maximum of Rs 18,000, here we had to pay nearly Rs 24,000. So some of us used to keep an eye on the activities of the staffers and noticed that one man was operating a remote control while a truck was being refueled. We then snatched the device from the staffer and handed it over to police,” said Divya Darshan Dash, a truck driver.

Additional district magistrate Sangram Keshari Swain said the weights and measures department and the police department have been asked to inquire into the matter and take action.

The accused doctor and others are being interrogated while experts have been called in to investigate the fraud, Turumunga inspector in-charge D Lakra said.

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