Ramar Pillai, who had created quite a sensation in Tamil Nadu more than a decade ago with his claims of herbal petrol, has been sentenced to undergo three years Rigorous Imprisonment by a court here for cheating the public, PTI reported.
According to the prosecution, during 1999-2000 Pillai colluded with other individuals "to do an illegal act, mixing petroleum products like Toluene, Naphtha etc, and to market it in the name of Ramar Petrol, or Ramar Tamildevi Mooligai Eriporul as if it were extracted from herbs".
The same was intended to be fraudulently used as "automobile fuel from herbs", which quite naturally did not meet the ISI standards.
CBI said the so-called herbal fuel was only a mixture of petroleum products which also violated the Motor Spirit Speed Diesel (Regulation of Supply and Distribution and Prevention of Malpractices) Order.
"Ramar Pillai misrepresented the facts and sold the same as Herbal fuel to the public through various sales outlets, whom also he cheated by collecting huge amounts as deposits and fuel costs. Thus Ramar Pillai and his associates gained Rs 2.27 crore for themselves, by cheating the public," CBI added.
Besides Pillai, four others - R Venudevi, S Chinnasamy, R Rajasegaran and S K Bharat - were also sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment by Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate.
The magistrate also slapped a total fine of Rs 30,000 (Rs 6,000 each) in the cheating case launched against them by CBI.
As per a 1997 report by Outlook, the scientific community had declared the invention as "hoax" but Pillai's business took off anyway, selling the fuel at a mere Rs 10 a litre. The report said that locals believed it couldn't be a con job because "it would be mindless to buy petrol at Rs 25 and sell it at less than half its price."
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