Oil thieves busted after explosion in secret tunnel
25 Jan 2018
For months, some men stole oil from an underground Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) pipeline in Kakrola that transports petroleum products from Sonepat to Bijwasan.
They had dug a 150ft-long tunnel to divert from the pipeline, police said.
Their cover blew up two days ago, when concentration of gases in the tunnel resulted in a loud explosion.
Nobody was injured, but one has been arrested.
Thieves dug 150ft-long, 2.5ft-wide tunnel to steal oil
The arrested man, Zubair, said they had taken a plot on rent five months ago to use as a "scrap yard."
They dug a 2.5ft-wide tunnel leading from the pipeline, used to transport petrol, diesel, aviation fuel and more, to a small room on the plot.
They then covered the tunnel's opening in the room with a lid, held tightly with bricks and a sofa.
Explosion as thieves removed pressure on the tunnel's lid
Zubair said they had recently finished drilling a hole in the pipeline. IOCL spokespersons confirmed they had noticed a drop in pressure in the pipeline and had been investigating.
On Tuesday, the thieves removed the sofa from the tunnel's lid. The blast happened soon after, as the accumulated gases inside released with high pressure.
The asbestos roof of the room was ripped, witnesses said.
Police suspect involvement of more than five people
Police managed to identify and arrest Zubair with inputs from their landlord, who has been booked for not verifying the tenants properly.
Zubair said four others were involved, but cops suspect there could be more people and are questioning him.
Police also found a truck carrying fuel. They suspect the thieves have transported fuel before, despite Zubair's claims to the contrary.
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