Incidents of fuel theft have increased in Karnataka following soaring gasoline and diesel prices. In one of these cases, a government bus in Tumakuru district was first stolen and then abandoned following the theft of diesel from its fuel tank.
A Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) bus was stolen from the Gubbi bus stop in the early hours of Monday. Police sources said the bus driver Hanumantharaya parked the vehicle (KA-06 F-0858) at around 9.40 p.m. Sunday and fell asleep in the KSRTC dormitory. When he returned to Gubbi bus station at 6 a.m. on Monday, the bus was missing at the depot. Hanumantharaya then filed a complaint with the police.
The bus was equipped with the General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) system and the cops used the tracking mechanism to locate the vehicle near Jannenahalli, about 30 km from Gubbi bus station. But by then the thieves had stolen the diesel and fled the place.
A police officer said gasoline and diesel thefts had become commonplace. “People in residential complexes ask us to patrol their parking lots at night. Previously, fuel thefts were mainly reported in Bengaluru and level two towns like Mysuru and Hubballi, but such cases are now also reported in small towns, ”he said. As on Wednesday, the price of a liter of gasoline in Bengaluru was Rs 109.89 and the corresponding figure for diesel was Rs 100.75.
In August this year, the Dakshina Kannada district police broke up a gang that had stolen diesel from Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL). It was discovered that the gang was stealing diesel by digging a hole in the main pipeline. Six gang members were arrested.
The city’s police commissioner, Kamal Pant, has been inundated with complaints of gasoline and diesel theft from residential complexes during his recent interaction with the public. Deputy Police Commissioners (DCP) have been ordered to increase patrols following complaints.