Sonawane`s killing: 17 lakh employees strike work

Yashwant Sonawane was burnt alive by the oil mafia near Manmad in Maharashtra`s Nashik district.

Updated: Jan 27, 2011, 13:25 PM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: Maharashtra government has ordered a massive crackdown on the adulteration mafia, even as nearly 17 lakh government employees and officers are striking work Thursday to protest against the murder of Nashik additional district collector Yashwant Sonawane by the oil mafia in Manmad.

Simultaneous raids were carried out on oil and milk adulterators and the sand mafia across the state today. The raids have been initiated by various departments along with police protection.

Though independent reports indicated that over 250 people have been arrested for running different types of adulteration rackets, officials declined to comment.

The raids are being carried out in Thane, Nashik, Nagpur, Aurangabad and other cities. Further details are awaited.

The employees strike called by the Maharashtra Gazetted Officers Federation - Class-1 and Class-2 officers – has been supported by other unions.

"Sonawane was killed while on duty. We will come to office and then stage fierce protests all over the state," GV Kulthe, general secretary of the federation said.

Shaken by the "shocking" and "gruesome" murder of an upright official, the striking employees are also demanding that the government provide protection to officers doing risky jobs.

The Shiv Sena has also called for a bandh in Manmad in
Nashik district today to protest Sonawane`s killing.

Sonawane, 44, was doused with kerosene and burnt alive in Panewadi, near Manmad in Nashik district Tuesday, when he went to conduct a raid on the local oil mafia for pilferage from kerosene tankers.

In all, 11 accused have been already arrested in connection with the case. While seven accused were arrested earlier, four more persons were nabbed in connection with the incident yesterday night, Nashik SP Milind Bharambe said.

Main accused Popat Shinde, who is in critical condition
after sustaining burn injuries while setting on fire the
ADC, was shifted to state-run JJ hospital in Mumbai. He
is reported to be in a serious condition.

The other six accused were produced before a local court
in Manmad town and remanded in police custody till February 8,
Pawar said. The accused have been booked under relevant
sections of IPC including murder charge and some provisions of
Essential Commodities act, police said.

Four more persons were arrested in connection with the
gruesome murder tonight on the basis of information provided
by those remanded in custody, Bharambe said.

They have been identified as Kunal Shinde, Hakkaki Khan,
Imran Khan and Ajay Sonawale, he said, adding, they were

A 1994-batch Maharashtra cadre officer, Sonawane was posted at Malegaon since over a year. He is survived by his wife and two children.

However, Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Cahvan assured, "Nobody will be spared. The accused have been arrested. My government has taken serious note of the ghastly incident and we will go into the root of the anti-social activities of sand and oil mafia and adulteration."

Chavan has already announced a compensation of Rs 25 lakh for Sonawane`s family, besides full salary till the date of his retirement, government job for one dependent, educational expenses of his children till they complete their graduation, and also a house.