SIVASAGAR, May 1 � Oil theft has become a major threat to the economy, but those involved in the crime are influential people who will always find their way out, having links with top politicians and police officials. Several rackets of crude oil theft have earlier been busted in the district of Sivasagar, but no major arrest has been made till date and it has been encouraging the pilferers to flourish in this lucrative business of stealing crude oil.
In such a similar incident, though a crude oil theft racket was busted in Sivasagar three days ago, no arrest was made so far. According to sources, a joint team of Sivasagar Police and the security staff of the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited on Monday busted a crude oil theft racket at Bhatiapar near here.
The joint team also seized two 5,000-litre capacity drums, one valve, a 1,000-metre-long pipe and other equipment used for the theft from the site. It also recovered several drums from a bamboo-made house near the site. However, no one was arrested during the operation.
The ONGC security staff received a tip-off from the pumping station that a theft of crude oil was being carried out at a point from underground pipelines in the Rudrasagar area. The joint team immediately conducted the raid to discover the theft and seize the equipment used in the clandestine operation.
�Members of the gang are well trained in puncturing underground pipelines and installing valves there to steal crude oil. The oil is sold to industries and other consumers,� said a security staff of the ONGC, Assam Asset. �Preliminary investigation has revealed that the oil mafia had already stolen nearly 48 cubic metres of crude oil from the GGS-2 located near Bhatiapar when the security personnel got the information from the pumping station,� he added.
It needs to be mentioned that crude oil theft is flourishing as an illegal trade in the various oil-rich districts of upper Assam. On the other hand, allegations are rife that some influential politicians, top officials of the company and the police are also involved in this act and they have been protecting the crude oil thieves.