Thieves dig tunnel to steal petrol from Indian Oil pipeline, exposed after blast
New Delhi :Panic hit a residential area in southwest Delhi’s Kakrola when a sudden loud explosion was heard in a tunnel allegedly dug up by thieves to steal oil from an underground Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) pipeline, which transports petroleum products from Sonepat to Bijwasan. Concentration of gases in it led to an explosion, police said.
While no one was injured in the accident, the explosion blew the cover of a group of men, who had taken a plot on rent five months ago to use it as a “scrap yard” claimed the police.
DCP (Dwarka) Shibesh Singh said that they received a call around 8.30pm about an explosion near Netaji Subhash Institute of Technology.
A police team reached the site and discovered the 150-foot long and 2.5-foot wide tunnel dug inside the room, which was allegedly being used to pilfer oil by the tenants.
“Zubair told us he had just finished drilling up a hole in the pipeline with the help of gas cutter. They then covered the opening in the room with a lid and placed some bricks and a sofa on it. On Tuesday evening, they removed the sofa and moved out and soon after the blast took place. — Police officer
The police managed to arrest one of the men, Zubair, from nearby area after identifying the accused with the help of the landlord. Zubair said he was working with four others. Police suspect that even more number of people could have been involved and are questioning Zubair.
Zubair disclosed that they had taken the plot on rent from owner Balwan Singh five months ago and had dug up the tunnel during this period. “Zubair told us that he had just finished drilling up a hole in the pipeline with the help of gas cutter. They then covered the opening in the room with a lid and placed some bricks and a sofa on it. On Tuesday evening, they removed the sofa and moved out and soon after the blast took place,” said a police officer.
“The IOCL pipeline is used to transport all kinds of petroleum products such as petrol, diesel and aviation fuel. We are trying to find out who was Zubair planning to sell the fuel to. A case under relevant provisions of law has been registered and the landlord has also been booked for not carrying out a tenant verification of Zubair,” said Singh. Investigators further said that leakage of gases from the pipeline got concentrated inside the covered tunnel. The explosion occurred when the accumulated gases were released with high pressure. “There was no combustion of fuel. Prima facie, the cover and weight on top of it had blocked the escape route of the gases leaking from the pipeline,” said an investigator.