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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane burnt alive



Additional Collector burnt alive in Maharashtra, 3 held.

An additional District Collector was on Tuesday burnt alive allegedly by petrol mafia at Manmad in Maharashtra’s Nashik district, police said.

Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane was accompanied by his personal assistant and driver when the incident took place at a roadside Dhaba near Manmad town, about 260 km from here.

“Preliminary reports say Mr. Sonawane had gone there to conduct a raid on petrol and diesel mafia. There some people, believed to be associated with the mafia, set him on fire causing his death,” Additional Director General (Law & Order) K P Rahuvanshi said.

Another report said Mr. Sonawane had stopped at a roadside hotel on way to a certain place to oversee security arrangements for an event when he found people adulterating fuel.

Mr. Sonawane objected to it, leading to a scuffle during which he was set ablaze.

Three detained

Three persons, including the suspected main culprit, have been detained for burning to death Mr. Sonawane, police said.

“The main culprit in the incident has also sustained burn injuries and he along with two aides has been detained. Further investigations are on,” Rafeeq Shaikh, Inspector at Manmad police station, told PTI.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Federation has called for a day-long strike on January 27 to protest the murder.

G.V. Kulthe, general secretary of the Federation told PTI that other unions will join the Federation members in staging a massive protest against the “shocking” and “gruesome” incident.

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3 comments:

Dinesh on January 25, 2011 at 4:08 PM said...

This is the Nexus of Local Politicians, Custom & Excise Officials, Police Officials, Monster Mafias etc... and the Loot on Govt Oil Depots and Storage is on going from last 30-35 years in many states. On every Tankers the Looter Share Holders price is fixed. Some time after Looting 70-75% of Stock they put Depots and Storage on fire to show the lost is due to fire. India cannot afford killings of the Honest Whistle Blowers and must stand up to bring this Monster Nexus down. JAI HIND.

Dinesh on January 26, 2011 at 3:01 AM said...

This is the Nexus of Local Politicians, Custom & Excise Officials, Police Officials, Monster Mafias etc... and the Loot of Govt Oil Depots and Storage is on going from last 30 years in many states. On every Tankers the Looter Share Holders price is fixed. Some time after Looting 70-75% of Stock they put Depots and Storage on fire to show the lost is due to fire. India cannot afford killings of the Honest Whistle Blowers and must stand up to bring this Monster Nexus down. Death penalty must be asked for all convicted, including their " RING LEADERS ". JAI HIND.

Jagdish Singh said...

Before commenting on happening at Manmad, it will be interesting to know the hold Mafia Gang tries to have on the location in-charge of an oil depot. Following incident at Kota, about 15 years ago, throws some light on Mafia Operation.

It was suspected that the depot in-charge was mixed up with the local agent. This agent's lorries were always filled on priority. A tank wagon carrying 27000 litres of Motor Spirit was, inadvertently, decanted into Kerosene tank at the depot. The decanting staff reported the matter to the in-charge, admitting the mistake made, but the in-charge decided to overlook. Such mixing, obviously, reduces the flash point of Kerosene and makes it a 'dangerous fuel'. In fact there were instructions, duly acknowledged, by this depot superintendent, that tank stocks could only be released to the market after testing the tank stock for flash point after every fresh receipt, however small, and without any exception. This check was ignored by this depot. (this check had never been carried out at this depot and fictitious entries were made in the register, after every fresh receipt, just for record).

A lorry load of adulterated Kerosene was released to this, all powerful, agent. He asked his staff to fill the kerosene into barrels for delivery into the villages. Someone decided to smoke during filling operation which is, generally, not very dangerous, though not permitted, while handling neat Kerosene having high flash point; but the adulterated kerosene, having low flash point, caused fire, killing one person.

Depot in-charge suspended kerosene releases without revealing the real problem. The agent refused to get his lorries filled at other depots where he could not demand the priority for filling and insisted on drawing product from his usual depot only. His lorries were filled with adulterated product, which was released to the poor people living in thatched huts using lanterns and wick stoves (where refueling is done without putting off the flame). Many huts caught fire resulting in about 150 deaths.

Reverting to the case at Manmad; very large portion of Kerosene drawn at heavily subsidized rate is used for adulterating High Speed Diesel or Motor Spirit. Mixing is done either by the transporter or the dealer operating retail outlet. It is possible that unscrupulous depot in-charges may be mixing at large scale within the depot itself. The desirable action/s is/are:

a) Suspend all the operations in the depot. Seal the tanks, assess stock, draw samples and get them tested in a laboratory. It is desirable to involve the occupier of the depot (generally senior to depot in-charge) for this service.

b) Seize the lorry and arrange to get the samples tested.

It is tragic that the honest District Collector had to lose his life, which not only indicates that this is not the case of minor adulteration, but also is not an isolated case. A dedicated IOC officer was shot dead by a mafia gang in Western UP, a few years ago, just because he wanted to carry out some check.

According to one press report, Mafia Gang used to draw out about 25 litres of kerosene from every lorry filled by the depots...like toll collected on highways. It is inconceivable, that such practice was not known to the industry. The only effective method is 'Withdraw subsidy on Kerosene' but who will bell the cat?

Jagdish Singh
Jan 27, 2010

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The writer is out of India for a few weeks but will be able to assist in the investigation if details are furnished:

Email ID is jagdishsingh.noida[at]hotmail.com
He can also be contacted in the interim at Dubai on +971 4 3943832

* The writer was member of the team formed to revise quality control instructions after an accident where about 150 consumers had died because of similarly contaminated kerosene supplied from Ernakulam. Revised instructions were issued to all the storage points in the country.
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