Manmad: The grimy hub of adulteration
The killing of Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane has suddenly thrown the town of Manmad into national spotlight.india Updated: Jan 29, 2011 13:29 IST
The killing of Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane has suddenly thrown the town of Manmad into national spotlight.
Allegations are now surfacing that diesel and petrol, transported from Manmad's huge depots in tankers, has long been pilfered and adulterated, making it Maharashtra's oil adulteration hub.
Both Bharat Petroleum and Indian Oil Corporation have large depots in Manmad close to Panewadi, where Sonawane was burnt to death by suspected members of the oil mafia on January 25. Panewadi depots supply oil to at least 12 districts in the state.
Manmad, which is 75 kms from Nashik, was under the Additional Collector and the district supply office, but since the past two years its jurisdiction went to the Additional Collector at Malegaon, where Maharashtra cadre officer Yashwant Sonawane was posted.
Earlier efforts to check adulteration in petrol, diesel and kerosene by revenue officers met with failure due to blessings of political leaders and bureaucrats to the oil mafia.
Popat Dattu Shinde, prime accused in Sonawane's murder, has ten cases of adulteration pending against him since 2001 and was externed from Manmad by then Malegaon's Sub Divisional Magistrate Devidas Choudhari on July 31, 2006 for a year. Shinde, who apparently enjoyed political patronage challenged his externment order by approaching the State Secretariat.
Following a 'good character' certificate issued by then Manmad municipal councillors -- Sanjay Nikam, Sanjay Bhalerao, Pournima Jadhav -- and RPI President Rajabhau Ahire, his order was terminated by the Secretariat.
In 2002, then Additional Collector B D Sanap seized nine tankers cracking down on the oil mafia in the area, but he received a life threat from Shinde, who had strong political connections. Shinde began as a Vada pav seller in Manmad and shifted to the adulteration racket, Nashik Municipal Commissioner told reporters.