The Uttar Pradesh Police arrested 23 people on Friday in connection with raids at seven petrol pumps which were using remote controlled chips in fuel dispensing machines to dupe unsuspecting consumers. The STF also registered 7 FIRs in the case.
During the investigation, it was found that the chip-based device would actually cut the flow of fuel by 5 to 10 per cent without any change in the metre reading of the machine, meaning that a customer would pay for 1 litre of fuel but get only 900 to 950 ml.
The matter came to light when the STF headquarter got a tip off in 2016 and ever since they have been working on the case. In 2017, they came to know about Ravinder, an electrician, believed to be the link to the entire racket. He used to install the chips to tamper with fuel dispensing machines.
The STF put him on surveillance and noted down his movements and who all he met. It was only when they were sure that he was a part of a bigger racket that he was arrested.
Ravinder told the STF that he has been doing the work for the past 6 years and that he has sold many chips to petrol pump owners for Rs 3000 to Rs 40,000. He also claimed that he purchased the chip from a company in Kanpur and then would install it in the pump. He was also required to maintain these machines in case they needed repair.
MODUS OPERANDI OF THE GANG:
- The petrol pump owner would lodge a complaint with the measurement department that the machine is not working. After the measurement department opens the plastic box inside which this integrated system is installed, the chip would be inserted into the system.
- Different chips were used for different boxes, but the catch was that it could be opened only by the measurement department as it was locked with a seal. Once opened, the chip was inserted.
- Each chip had a special code and after it was installed it was operated remotely with a remote that was in the possession of the manager of the petrol pump.
The STF is anticipating that the racket could be running across districts or even across states and will be submitting a detailed report in this case.
The police has registered 7 FIRs in this matter, and arrested 23 people, including 4 petrol pump owners.