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Gang busted for multi-crore weighbridge scam

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh Special Task Force apprehended seven individuals on Sunday night for allegedly swindling crores of rupees by manipulating weighbridges with the help of a remote. The gang primarily targeted construction companies and contractors in the Purvanchal region, tampering with weighbridges to understate the weight of goods and pocketing the difference.

The arrested individuals have been identified as Ankit Kumar Yadav, Dinesh Pandey, Rajvir Singh, Ranjeet Chaudhary, Ashutosh Rao, Surendra Kumar Shukla, and Vishal Agrahari. Their arrest took place at the CSIL plant in Pura Bazar, Maharajganj, as they attempted to inflate the weight of a rebar-laden trailer.

The operation, masterminded by Vishal Agrahari, who acquired the technique in Mumbai, involved installing chips within the load cell wires of weighbridges. "By using remotes equipped with buttons to increase, decrease, or deactivate the chip, they could manipulate the weight readings at will," explained DySP Dharmesh Shahi of the STF.

Agrahari, during interrogation, confessed to learning the manipulation technique while working on weighbridge construction in Vasai Virar, Mumbai, in 2016. There, he observed large-scale weight reductions in massive corporate weighing managed through remotes.

Ankit Yadav, a transporter's broker, recruited drivers and transporters, while Surendra Kumar Shukla facilitated on-site adjustments with drivers. Ashutosh served as a security guard at the Maharajganj CSIL plant's weighbridge, and Ranjeet functioned as a truck trailer driver, said the STF.

"Roughly six months prior, Ashutosh granted access only to Ankit, Vishal, and Dinesh, and a chip was implanted in the weighbridge's load cell wire," DySP Shahi revealed.

The STF suspects that at least 24 weighbridges across Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and even Nepal were rigged with similar chips.

An FIR has been lodged at the Maharajganj police station under sections 420 (cheating), 408 (breach of trust by servant), 120B (criminal conspiracy), 379 (theft), and section 26 of the Legal Metrology Act, said Shahi.

Further investigations are ongoing to identify additional gang members and determine the full extent of their operations, the STF said.

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