Non-duty paid diesel theft busted in groundbreaking operation

Meticulously planned IBO leads to discovery of 174-feet-long clandestine tunnel being ingeniously used for POL smuggling

Images of secret tunnel to Parco oil pipeline. — Supplied
Images of secret tunnel to Parco oil pipeline. — Supplied
  • 174-feet-long tunnel intricately connected to PARCO’s Oil pipeline. 
  • Smugglers illicitly extracted and stole non-duty-paid diesel.
  • Operation marks significant stride in unravelling smugglers’ network.

A team of the Directorate of Intelligence & Investigation-Customs, Karachi, has busted the theft of non-duty paid diesel from the Parco oil pipeline via a specially constructed deep underground pipeline in a groundbreaking intelligence based operation (IBO), a statement issued on Wednesday read.

The smugglers had been clandestinely using a 174-foot-long tunnel, intricately connected to PARCO’s Oil pipeline, to illicitly extract and steal non-duty-paid diesel. The illegal activity had been running unchecked for a long time, causing an estimated loss of billions of rupees daily.

A meticulously planned IBO by the Customs Intelligence led to the discovery of the tunnel, which was being ingeniously used for smuggling against legal and fiscal obligations.

The operation was conducted on a tip-off given by Director General of Customs Intelligence Faiz Ahmad Chadhar, about the involvement of an organised syndicate of smugglers in the theft and sale of non-duty paid diesel.

“This case is a testament to the vigilance and effectiveness of Customs Intelligence and highlights the country’s evolving and complex nature of fuel smuggling,” the statement read.

It further stated that the modus operandi unearthed by Customs Intelligence has resulted in the detection of this mega scam involving massive non-duty-paid diesel theft amounting to billions of rupees.

As per the details of the IBO, the team made a seizure of 65,000 litres of non-duty/stolen diesel, valued at Rs20 million, at the site of the raid.

The said value underscores the scale of the smuggling operation and the massive revenue loss to the government exchequer on a daily basis.

This case uncovered the mischievous modus operandi where the smugglers resort to more innovative and covert means due to “heightened scrutiny and crackdowns by the Customs Intelligence and other LEAs on traditional smuggling routes and methods”.

Particular focus was placed on a suspicious industrial site in Karachi, leading to a breakthrough discovery. An Edible Oil factory at Port Qasim, under the radar of Customs Intelligence, was found intricately involved in the illegal activities.

Following the seizure, investigations led to the arrest of the factory owner, marking a significant stride in unravelling the network behind this sophisticated smuggling operation.

Further investigations are underway to arrest the other members of the gang and ascertain the quantum of loss over some time.

Chadhar lauded the intelligence team and said that the successful operation is a hallmark of Customs Intelligence’s continued commitment to combating fuel smuggling. 

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