IndianOil denies black market slur in Manipur

Vol 20, PW 16 (04 May 17) People & Policy

IndianOil divisional retail manager SI Singh has flatly denied accusations by a militant group in Manipur that he was involved with the theft and re-sale of oil and gas cylinders on the black market during the state's economic blockade.

These (unproven) allegations figured in a press release from the People's War Group of the outlawed Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) and was reported by local daily Imphal Free Press on April 22. KCP leveled the accusations against Singh in an apparent attempt to justify an armed attack on a IndianOil convoy of 60 fuel tankers on April 18 which left two tankers damaged by bullets but no injuries.

Singh, said the release, had not paid attention to demands that he apologise to the public. Contacted by this report, Singh swiftly dismissed the allegations.

"There is no truth in all this," he said. "Actually there is no problem." Singh had just finished a long meeting with IndianOil executive director Dipankar Ray to discuss the armed attack.

Ray tells this report IOC has been facing trouble from militants since last year when the United Naga Council rebel group disrupted road transport along highways in Manipur. With a population of 3m, Manipur is the focal point of ethnic strife, and protests over competing political demands by Meitei, Kuki and Naga communities.

Ray however appeared relaxed, saying the state government had ensured security with little cause for concern.