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Why threaten oil mafia with MCOCA, Mr Patil?

Last updated on: January 29, 2011 14:12 IST

Why threaten oil mafia with MCOCA, Mr Patil?

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N Ganesh in Mumbai

Maharashtra Home Minister R R Patil has promised to book the oil mafia under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act.

This is not the first time that the state has decided to use the stringent act. After every attack on government officials, the state government vowed to crackdown on the oil mafia.

However, despite being a well-organised crime syndicate, the state police department has not been successful in booking even one adulteration criminal under the MCOCA

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Sonwane was not 1st to be eliminated by the oil mafia

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Additional District Collector Yeshwant Sonwane, who was burnt alive by oil mafia, is not the first government servant to be eliminated. In fact, there have been two other instances where government officials have been murdered in the past.

Ashok Kadam, vigilance inspector who kept tab on oil adulteration, was murdered at his Trombay residence on October 31, 2001. The three accused -- Chetan Chheda, Lal Khan and Dhanraj Shah (all in the petrol business) had allegedly hired four shooters to kill Kadam were acquitted by the sessions court in August 2009.

Also in the year 2001 on January 25, police constable Rajendra Bhawsar was murdered at Ambad in Nashik. The accused in this murder case include police inspector Jagan Pimple who was later dismissed, Dheeraj Yeole, Raju Kadam an aide of Chhota Rajan. All of the accused were acquitted subsequently.



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Why MCOCA cases fall flat in court

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The MCOCA cases initiated against well-known names of the oil mafia -- Antim Totla, Khimji Kataria, Rajesh Gataliya, Lalit Nagpal and Tulsi Singh Rajput -- have failed to withstand the scrutiny of the higher courts.

While putting up MCOCA cases against members of the oil mafia the police only included the Essential Commodities Act and Sales Tax act against the accused. To sustain MCOCA, the police has to bring forth records of cases booked for use of violence, threat of violence, coercion or intimidation indulged either singly or jointly as member of an organised gang.

All above mentioned persons have either been directly exposed to charges under serious offences such as murder, extortion, threat to life, kidnapping, etc or indirectly through their co-accused who are gang members.



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The oil mafia is interlinked: Arrest one, arrest all

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Unfortunately, the state government failed to bring these links on record and therefore failed to establish MCOCA against the oil mafia.

The oil mafia crime syndicate is so interlinked that if the police decides to book one adulterator under MCOCA by thoroughly documenting all cases of serious nature against the accused and his gang members then it may well put all major names of the state oil mafia behind bars.

The police apathy is reflected in the fact that they are yet to gather information of all cases of fuel adulteration that have taken place in the state in last ten years.



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