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In a major crackdown, the Maharashtra Police have bust a multi-crore-rupee international scam of siphoning off fuel by petrol vends in the state and arrested 23 persons, a top official said here on Wednesday.
The racket involved replacing the oil marketing company's Integrated Circuits (IC) with an unauthorised ICs made by the accused and implanting them in the dispenser unit of the petrol pumps.
"By implanting this illegal IC, despite the dispenser unit showing a certain display reading to the buyers, at least four to 30 per cent less petrol/diesel was actually dispensed," said Police Commissioner Parambir Singh.
The matter came to light following a confidential tip-off received from the Uttar Pradesh Police, who had arrested one of the masterminds of the racket, Vivek Harishchandra Shetye in Para, Lucknow district, he added.
Thane police investigations took them to a petrol pump, Arman Sales, on the outskirts of the city where such an illegally programmed IC, sold by Shetye and his associates, was implanted in the dispenser units. It was raided and sealed on June 16, said Singh.
Thane Crime Branch's Senior Police Inspector Nitin Thakare, who played a key role in the investigations, said the accused had procured such ICs from China and after programming them, sold them to petrol vends in Maharashtra and the rest of India, besides petrol outlets in South Africa, Saudi Arabia, China and other countries.