Sonawane killing expose mafia worth Rs 10,000cr

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Mumbai, Jan 28: The gruesome murder of Additional District Collector of Malegaon, Yeshwant Sonawane has acted as a rude shock to the administration on the oil mafia that has gripped the country. Now with the Maharashtra administration going into an overdrive to nab the culprits and to bring to the book the oil pilferage rampant in the state, news of the lax attitude of top babus have come to light.

Reports claim that Sonawane had approached the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to file a complaint that he was being harassed by some government officials in the Manmad area for bribes.

The death has sparked a massive manhunt for those involved in the adulteration of oil and so far close to 200 people have been arrested and close to 1250 litres of oil seized. The Oil Ministry is gearing up to reform its policies to curb the disturbing oil adulteration racket that is estimated to be in the range of Rs. 10,000 crore.

Read: Addl District Collector burnt alive in Malegaon

Popat Shinde, the main accused of the heinous crime is in hospital after suffering third-degree burns. 11 people have been arrested in the murder of Sonawane so far. 

The murder has blown the lid on the massive clout the oil mafia enjoys and how the administration is turning a blind eye to their lawlessness. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has been quoted as saying, "The bigger thing is the difference between the kerosene prices we give through the PDS and the cost when it is adulterated with diesel. The difference is so huge."

The Opposition has cried fowl in the matter and is accusing the government of being fully aware of the mafia that operates with full political support.

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