Raids on oil mafia continue in M'rashtra

Raids on oil mafia continue in M'rashtra

So far, nearly 200 people have been taken into custody. And close to 1,250 litres of oil has been seized. The crackdown was launched on adulteration dens around kerosene depots across the state after massive protests and outrage over the killing of Sonawane.

The oil companies such as Indian Oil, HPCL and BPCL supply kerosene to the government ration shops in tankers. These tankers are locked but the keys of these locks are available to adulteration mafia, who remove kerosene from these tankers and mix it with either petrol or diesel, or store in drums meant for the black market.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan pointed at the huge difference between the kerosene prices supplied through the ration shops and the cost when it is adulterated with either diesel or petrol, bringing windfall to adulterers.

The BJP was not impressed by the government action. Party spokesman Madhav Bhandari alleged that all raids were conducted in places out of the major centres of adulteration. Hardly any raid was conducted in Mumbai, Pune or Nasik-Manmad belt, which is a haven for pilfering and adulteration.

Party general secretary Vinod Tawde levelled a sensational charge that just a day before the murder of Sonawane, a GR (government resolution) was issued by the state government to scrap inspection of oil tankers passing through the state by revenue officials and police.

The GR favoured oil mafia and was issued on January 24, 2011. Tawde alluded to bribes that were paid by oil mafia to get a favourable order.

Tawde, in fact, went a step further in alleging that the oil mafia operating in the Nasik-Manmad region paid Rs 25 crore as bribe to some ministers in the state cabinet.

“Earlier, there was a provision of inspection of oil tankers passing through the state by officials of revenue department and the police. However, the government has scrapped the provision paving the way for oil mafia to go ahead for adulteration,” Tawde said.

He alleged that two alleged oil mafia ring leaders Ramesh and Haresh arranged Rs 25 crore and distributed the money to some ministers in the state and to a Union minister.