Pumping Gas

CHENNAI: Water and fuel thefts are passe, it seems, Here comes LPG theft, that too using a locally assembled ‘gas transferring machine’ in Salem.
The Madras high court has declined to grant anticipatory bail to a man involved in largescale transfer of subsidised domestic LPG to commercial cylinders using a local instrument in unsafe work conditions at Paraivattam in Vedukathampatti village of Salem district.
Another house at Lakshmi Nagar, Panangkadu in Andipatti village was raided and a total of 37 domestic LPG cylinders were found inside the house.
Inquiry revealed that Palanisamy of Karuppanur was occupying the house as a tenant.
The bail was filed by Palanisamy who allegedly engaged daily wager Manikandan for gas transfer work.
Manikandan used to source several domestic LPG cylinders from various gas agencies, and transfer gas to commercial cylinders to be sold at a higher price.
The racket surfaced following complaints from several gas agencies. which said their cylinders kept outside for delivery to customers had been going missing and they were later found either fully or partly empty.
When police entered the modest residence of Manikandan on suspicion, they stumbled upon several hundred domestic LPG cylinders and locally made electric motor devices to transfer gas into commercial cylinders.
Manikandan told police that he used to receive subsidized LPG cylinders meant for domestic use from three delivery persons of different gas agencies, and return empty domestic cylinders. He would transfer gas from domestic cylinders to commercial cylinders using local electric motor device and measured the weight using digital weighing machines.
Police seized cylinders, a transfer machine and weighing machines from the residence of Manikandan.
Justice S Vaidyanathan dismissed the bail plea of Palanisamy saying, “Manikandan, labourer of Palanisamy, has confessed that he transferred gas from domestic cylinders to commercial cylinders only on instructions from Palanisamy, and that case property has also been seized by police, ” he said.