The Rajasthan police have arrested 31 persons and claimed to have busted an inter-state syndicate that allegedly stole crude oil worth crores of rupees from Cairn India's oilfield in Barmer over the past several years.
"We have arrested 31 persons in connection with a crude oil stealing racket, including 7-8 persons working with Cairn India. Seventeen drivers involved in the syndicate have been arrested," SP, Barmer, Gagandeep Singla told PTI.
More arrests are likely, he said adding that the police were investigating the links of the syndicate outside the state.
We have been able to establish links of the racket in Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata so far, Singla said adding that the role of some top officials of the oil and gas giant was also being examined.
The Barmer police had yesterday arrested two accused with one tanker that was filled with 2,200 litres crude oil, police officials said.
The accused were arrested on the information that crude oil from the Cairn India field was being supplied to factories.
According to the police, operators were authorised for transporting water. However tankers were used to carry oil in two of the five compartments inside them while the rest would be filled with water.
Two of the accused Sata Ram and Dharma Ram were allegedly selling the crude to Gautam Singh and Bhoor Singh at a factory located about 12 km from the city, the police claimed.
Gautam Singh allegedly paid Rs 7.50 per litre to the tanker owner and sold the crude further, the police claimed.
The tanker owner kept Rs 4 for himself and distributed the rest Rs 3. 50 among the staff posted at production site, the surveyor, helpers and others, they said.
SP, Barmer, Singla said the tankers belonged to a Gujarat-based firm and a local construction company.
Based on the statement of the accused, the police claimed that theft of 15000-20,000 litres of crude oil worth Rs 3 lakh was taking place daily leading to loss of Rs 11 crore per annum to the company.
The lid was blown off the racket following a complaint lodged by Cairn India's legal officer on July 14 at Nagana police station of Barmer against tanker operators, Sata Ram and Dharma Ram, the police said.