Tanker driver stealing petrol caught red-handed

In what appears to be the tip of the iceberg, the owner of a HP (Hindustan Petroleum) petrol bunk in Banashankari caught the driver of a fuel tanker siphoning off 150-200 litres, valued at Rs 6000-7000. The incident happened on Tuesday, February 1st. 

The truck from which petrol was siphoned off by the driver. It has been stationed at the petrol bunk while investigations are going on. Pic: Navya P K

Mani Siddaiah, owner of Mahadeswara petrol bunk in Banashankari 3rd Stage, says that the truck driver has admitted to removing the petrol by opening the locks on top of the truck. The truck’s owner also alleges of petrol was being siphoned off over months.

Siddaiah, an IRS (Indian Revenue Service) officer, says he has been noticing the shortage in the supplied amount for the last 4-5 months. "When we measured the petrol in the underground sumps with dipstick, we found shortages but could not pinpoint it on anyone," he says. Many trucks supply petrol to the bunk; the truck owners’ contract is with HP and not with the dealer.

On Tuesday, the owners measured the petrol with a dipstick after it was filled. "The measurement showed that the sump was full. When we measured again after removing 35 litres from the sump, the measurement still indicated that sump was full. After repeated measurements by removing different amounts of petrol, we concluded that some mechanism was set up to show the same measurements despite the amount of petrol in the sump," Siddaiah says. The quantity in the diesel sumps, supplied by the same truck, was found to be accurate on measurement.

Though the driver admitted to siphoning off around 110 litres of petrol, Siddaiah says this could be around 200 litres. "The driver said that those involved in the scam had a master key to open the locks on all trucks. The driver ran away in between, but was brought back by the truck owner," Siddaiah says.

HP has been informed of the issue and is investigating the case. Since the contract for the trucks was given by HP, further procedures will be initiated by the company after establishing the theft; the bunk owner has not pressed any charges against the truck owner with the police.

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About Navya P K 317 Articles
Navya has 12 years of experience in journalism, covering development, urban governance and environment. She was earlier Senior Journalist, Citizen Matters, and Reporter, The New Indian Express. She has also freelanced for publications such as The News Minute, Factor Daily and India Together. Navya won the All India Environment Journalism Award, 2013, for her investigative series on the environmental violations of an upcoming SEZ in Bengaluru, published in Citizen Matters. She also won the PII-UNICEF fellowship in 2016 to report on child rights in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Navya has an MA in Political Studies from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and a PG Diploma from the Asian College of Journalism.