‘Ministers shouldn’t stop investigations’
Supporting the state bureaucrats, deputy chief minister, Ajit Pawar, on Saturday, said that ministers should refrain from granting stays on cases on oil mafia being investigated by the officers.
Hindustan Times had, on January 29, reported how in an unofficial communiqué to all the additional collectors, chief secretary Ratnakar Gaikwad had asked them to not entertain ‘unofficial stay orders’ issued by politicians or even senior officials while acting on the cases against illegal hoarding of fuel. A decision, to this effect, was taken in a meeting of senior officials from the home, revenue, food and civil supplies departments at the state secretariat on Friday.
“It is incorrect for the ministers to interfere with collector-level decisions,” said Pawar. “If ministers keep interfering in the work of the officials, then people would stop taking them seriously. This is dangerous for the administration.”
At the Friday meeting, officials had complained about how political interference was blocking the action by additional collectors against the fuel adulteration mafia.
“There is a process by which people can express their discontent regarding the decision taken by the collector and appeal further. I am in complete favour of following this. This will ensure that no adjustments are made for someone’s benefit,” added Pawar.
Pawar has said that the state government will re-look at the rules pertaining to raids and checks in cases of adulteration.
“Changes will be made to ensure laws, only those under the purview of state government, become more stringent,” he said.
In the last one year, as per the government figures, 1,192 people have been arrested in connection with oil pilferage and 2,920 people have been held for their involvement with the
sand mafia. Chargesheets have been filed in 1,828 cases. Meanwhile, chief minister Prithviraj Chavan paid visit to Sonawane’s family on Saturday.