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Murdering Honesty at the Hands of the Oil Mafia

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By Apoorva Dixit:

On 26th January 1950, the Constitution of India came into effect. It is the supreme law of India which lays down the framework defining fundamental political principles, structures, procedures, powers and duties of the government as well as the fundamental rights and duties of the citizens. It also assures its citizens equality, liberty and most importantly justice. The word ‘integrity’ was added to the definition in 1976.

We celebrate this day as Republic day, the day where our rights and duties were brought to a concrete form by many great scholars and freedom fighters.

Incident: After more than 60 years, on the eve of this historic Republic day, Mr. Yashwant Sonawane was burnt alive by oil adulteration mafia at Manmad.

Crime: Performing the duties of a responsible citizen with full integrity. He paid his life for being an honest Additional District Collector.

Incident: On 20th July, 2010, Mr. Amit Jethava, an Indian environmentalist and social worker, was shot dead by two assailants on motorbike.

Crime: He had filed several court cases against illegal mining in protected area, naming BJP MP, Dinu Solanki, as one of the respondents.

Incident: Shanmugam Manjunath, an IIM-L alumnus was murdered in Lakhimpur Kheri, UP in 2005

Crime: As a marketing Manager of IOC, he sealed the corrupt petrol station.

Incident:  On 27th Nov, 2003, Mr. Satyendra Kumar Dubey was murdered in Gaya, Bihar (Yes, the same place where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment)

Crime: As a project director at NHAI, he was fighting corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral highway construction project.

Brazen acts and brutal killings, all of them! After all these incidents and many more, do we really have any reason to celebrate our Republic Day and show off our armed strength? Committing a mistake cannot be excused if there is loss of life, and if that mistake is repeated, what punishment should we give to the accused? Gift them a long-running case in our efficient judicial system? And give the family of victims permanent mental agony?

Manjunath tragedy was a clear indication of the existence and growing Oil Mafia, still we have witnessed another similar case. Sonawne was found dead in the field from several burns. But before dying he clung on to one of his attackers, Popat Shinde, making it impossible for him to flee. Shinde was amongst eight people who poured kerosene on Sonawne when he was taking photographs of the theft.

Popat Shinde has been working for the oil mafia for past 30 years. Starting as a road side snack seller, he learnt the tricks of oil pilferage trade and soon made enough money to own two oil tankers. He has been arrested six times before this incident. Was government giving career guidance and growth opportunities to Mr. Shinde all this while? For 30 years?

In 1995-96, Leena Mehendale, the then Divisional Commissioner of Nasik had submitted the reports to the government but no action was taken. The Dhule District Collector had initiated the report but soon he was transferred. These reports included the oil adulteration in the region where Sonawne was killed. No proper records are kept of Petrol and Kerosene dealers. So what exactly did the authorities do?

The Petroleum and Gas minister, Jaipal Reddy, announced two solutions to avoid such incidents. First was to install GPS to track the tankers carrying oil and second was to introduce a new marker system to detect adulteration. Innovative? Coincidently and unfortunately, both these techniques were applied in 2005 and were dropped in 2008 due to reasons like high cost-low benefit, quality etc. Coupon system, Public Distribution system, smart cards etc failed to check the growth of illegal oil.

The simple reason why the Oil mafias are making huge profits is because of the fact that kerosene prices are controlled unlike petrol prices which are market driven.

Sonawne is burnt, because the politicians are corrupt! Manjunath is killed because the citizens are not voting! Amit Jethwa is murdered because the educated youth is not entering politics! Dubey has passed away because the Nation is decaying! Where is the solution?

All this will end, when the Revolution against them will start! But when? Are you ready?

You must be to comment.
  1. Neham Bhandarkar

    Corrupt people, irresponsible syste and an unfaithful Judiciary.
    Indian dream is an astray and an aimless entity.

  2. Neha Bhandarkar


  3. Apoorva Dixit

    @neha, yeah. but ppl who elect them or just refuse to cast vote are equally or rather more responsible for today’s situation..

  4. Pallavi Maheshwari

    The fact that Popat Shinde was arrested 6 times and yet it made no difference to him committing the crime one more time..says it all about the judicial system. The way the article has brought across the facts is really appealing.

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