At the gas station.
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Bansri Shah, Pune

The Pune police has filed charges against 56 fuel attendants for allegedly defrauding the Pune Welfare Board of approximately 20 lakhs since June 2021. The scam was revealed when an audit was recently conducted which led to the police filing an FIR regarding the issue.

The fuel attendants were employed at two petrol stations, one at Pashan Road and the other at Baner Road. These two petrol stations were formally opened in 2021 by the then Home Minister, Dilip Walse-Patil, and operated under the auspices of the PRP Welfare Board. The revenue generated from these stations was intended to support various initiatives benefiting police personnel and their families.

The fraudulent activities came to light during a routine audit which prompted Rajesh Agarwal (53) who works as a police officer with the Pune Rural Police Welfare Board to lodge a police complaint at the Chatushrungi Police Station on Wednesday. The Baner Road location suffered a loss exceeding Rs 17.25 lakhs, while the Pashan Road facility suffered a loss of nearly Rs 2.93 lakhs. 

Ankit Goyal, the Superintendent of Police for Pune Rural Police, stated, “The audit report uncovered financial misconduct by the attendants, leading us to file an official complaint.”

Digitalization in India has seen significant growth and transformation in several sectors, but it has also brought with it newer challenges, including financial scams. In the case of UPI scams, fraudsters typically pose as legitimate entities and trick individuals into either sharing their UPI PIN or transferring money. Scammers may also create fake UPI payment links or QR codes to deceive users into making unauthorized transactions. 

The way this scam worked was that the suspects failed to deposit the money collected from customers into the Welfare Board’s account. Instead, they reportedly used the funds for their own, personal gains and redirected the funds collected through UPI into their own accounts.

Senior Inspector Balaji Pandhare of Chatushrungi police added, “Over the past two years, numerous individuals worked as attendants at the two petrol stations. The rural police have identified these individuals, and they are named in the FIR.” However, comprehensive information regarding the employees including their recruitment process and backgrounds is currently unavailable and further inquiries are underway.