New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to order a CBI investigation into large-scale adulteration of petrol and diesel by mafia in the Hathras region of Uttar Pradesh.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud said the law was already in place to enable the authorities to take action against such malpractices.
The bench took note of the contentions of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas that public sector oil companies had taken steps to conduct regular checks on the quality and quantity of petrol and diesel being supplied by retail outlets to the public at large.
The apex court in its order stated: “It has been stated that the Motor Spirit and High Speed Diesel (Regulation of Supply, Distribution and Prevention of Malpractices) Order, 2005 and the Kerosene (Restriction on Use and Fixation of Ceiling Price) Order, 1993 have provisions to enable the states and union territories to take action against malpractices.”
“Moreover, it has been stated that the ministry intends to implement the direct transfer scheme in kerosene in identified districts of different states on a pilot basis. These are essentially matters of policy. The Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is seized of the issue. Steps have been taken from time to time, as elaborated in the affidavit filed in this court,” it added.
The court’s verdict came on a PIL filed by a former Bahujan Samaj Party MP Seema Upadhyay levelling allegations against Devender Agrawal, the Samajwadi Party legislator from Hathras, that he had been indulging in adulteration of petrol and diesel at outlets owned or operated by him through “benami” names.
Upadhyay had claimed that there was a need for thorough probe by the CBI into the business activities of Agarwal.
The court refused to go into the allegation of Agarwal owning multiple outlets, saying the issue had to be determined by the oil companies.
Agrawal, she claimed, had “in 1999 began his life as a driver of fuel tanker and is currently a man of many crores besides being a member of the legislative assembly”.
Seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe, she alleged that the subsidised kerosene oil meant for the persons residing in the rural areas or those living below poverty line was being illegally diverted to oil mafia which uses it for adulterating the fuel used in different vehicles, tractors and other equipment like generators and pump engines.
Pointing to the huge profits that the adulteration of petrol and diesel generates, she said this “enables the fuel adulterators/ black marketeers/ fuel mafia to tame the police, officials of the Food and Supply Department and other officers of public distribution system”.
Owing to the illegal activities of the oil mafias, not only were the deserving sections of population not getting their due but it was also causing huge damage to vehicles besides contributing to pollution, she added.