While the country was getting ready to celebrate another Republic Day, a government officer was set on fire and killed on a highway in Maharashtra for performing his duty.
Additional district collector Yashwant Sonawane, 46, was set on fire by goons in Nasik district when he tried to stop them from adulterating motor fuel. He died on the spot. At least four people doused him with kerosene, one of whom is also critically burnt. All four were arrested later.
The incident happened on Tuesday at a roadside eatery near Manmad town, 260 km from here. Sonawane, on his way back from Chandwad after conducting a raid on the petrol and diesel adulteration mafia, spotted a man taking out kerosene from a tanker. The man fled when Sonawane asked him to stop.
Sonawane then called his supply inspector but before his junior reached the spot, the four accused surrounded him and started beating him up. They then set him ablaze.
Sources said the kerosene was to be mixed with diesel and petrol, which is sold in the open market. Sonawane knew this and he had been hunting for the mafia.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan ordered a statewide crackdown on the oil mafia. “We will take prompt action to bring the guilty to justice,” he said. Revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat, sent to the spot, said the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act would be used against the culprits.
BJP leader Gopinath Munde said the incident was a blot on the Congress-led state government.