Security lapse exposed with arrest of oil mafia for stealing diesel


A major security lapse has been exposed with the recent arrest of a "diesel don" and his two close aides for allegedly stealing diesel from the confiscated barge "MT Al Vashila".
Since the theft took place while the barge was anchored under the custody of the Yellow Gate police station, it has become a matter of concern and great embarrassment for the police. 
The incident, on the one hand, highlights the vulnerability of police in keeping a vigil on confiscated items in their own custody and, on the other, fuels speculation about police officials being hand-in-glove with dock thieves.
MT Al Vashila, confiscated on May 15 by sleuths of Mumbai police’s special squad, was anchored at Malet Bunder near Bhau-cha-Dhakka in Mazgaon area of south Mumbai. The barge contained about 50,000 litres of diesel, out of which nearly 30,000 to 35,000 litres were stolen.
Commenting on the security lapse, senior inspector Pandurang Dhoke of the Yellow Gate police station said, "After the incident came to light, we have increased vigil at Malet Bunder."
When asked whether the fishermen’s barges anchored close to the confiscated barge often created problems for the police, Mr Dhoke said, "We don’t have any other option but to anchor the barge at Malet Bunder while it is in police custody."
The problem that there is no other place to anchor a confiscated vessel becomes one of the major reasons why dock thieves are able to strike with immunity, pointed out an officer from Yellow Gate police station.
Also, local fishermen, whose barges are parked near the confiscated barge, are completely aware about the access and egress points of the barges, which makes it easier for them to steal. With this also being a possibility, the role of local fishermen is still being probed by the police, said the officer.
Given these circumstances, the chances of such incidents occurring in future cannot be ruled out, said an officer.
"The probe is still on and more arrests may take place in future," Assistant Commissioner of Police (Dongri division) Ravi Thakur said.
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