The Delhi Police has arrested three persons in the connection of selling painted fire extinguishers as oxygen cylinders to the needy people. The accused have been identified as Ravi Sharma (40), Mohammad Abdul (38) and Shambhu Shah (30), all residents of Alipur, they said.
Following a complaint received from a local Mukesh Khanna, a raid was conducted in the Alipur area where over 500 empty fire extinguishers - painted black and fitted with nozzles were seized. Police seized 532 fire extinguisher iron gas cylinders of different sizes, 26 oxygen gas cylinder nozzles, two electric grinders used to remove the red paint of the cylinders, three silver color spray-paint cans, one black paint box, one paint-brush, one pipe-wrench and Rs 49,500 cash were recovered from their possession.
Khanna who runs Radha Vallabh Sewa Sangh NGO which serves free oxygen cylinders to Covid patients, filed a complaint at the Farsh Bazar police station. Khanna alleged that one oxygen cylinder distributer, Varsha Engineering at Apni Colony, Alipur, had sold him oxygen cylinders at Rs 5,500 per for 4. 5 liters. When he contacted the same distributor again and asked for more cylinders, the distributer demanded Rs 13,000 for per 4. 5 liters cylinder, a senior police office said.
“During enquiry, it was found that distributor Ravi Sharma was removing red paint of fire cylinders which were used for filling of CO2 and was converting them into oxygen cylinders by painting them black with the help of Abdul and Shah,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) R Sathiyasundaram said.
Sharma and his associates have cheated the complainant by selling fire extinguishing cylinders as oxygen cylinders at an exorbitant rate. All three accused persons were arrested, the DCP said.
During interrogation, it was found that the accused used to collect the empty or expired fire extinguisher cylinders and sell it either as scrap or refill the CO2 for fire-fighting, police said.
Due to the ongoing oxygen crisis in view of the COVID pandemic, they planned a conspiracy to remove the red colour of the original cylinder, repaint it with black, and fix nozzle to make it similar to oxygen cylinder, police said.
The accused also confessed that he has already sold many such cylinders, police added.
- With PTI inputs