Mathura: A gang of thieves has stolen oil worth more than `100 crore from a pipeline of the state-owned Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) here. The thieves had been operating smoothly for the past one-and-a-half years until the police unearthed a well-oiled interstate racket and arrested four persons on February 17, and 12 others are still absconding. The racket involves petrol pump owners, politicallyconnected individuals and police officials from Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana and Delhi. Police are also questioning the officials of Mathura Refinery, commissioned in 1982 to meet the demand of petroleum products in the north-western region of the country, including the National Capital Region. They have also written to IOCL and the petroleum ministry, recommending a vigilance inquiry. Sources said phones of several refinery officials have been placed under surveillance and their call details will be checked. This was not the first case of oil theft; at least eight such cases have been registered in the past two-three years at different police stations of Mathura and adjoining areas. Police said that several gangs are involved in theft. In the latest case, police have discovered role of some petrol pump owners and a local village head. The gang also involves an engineer as his expertise was needed in stealing oil from high pressure refinery pipeline. Inspector General of Police, Agra zone, Sujeet Pandey said, Many people are involved as it was done on a big scale. More arrests have to be made as it is a large-scale loss. Whoever will be arrested will be booked under the provisions of stringent laws, including Gangster Act and NSA. Many big people are involved, and I am personally monitoring the case.
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