Another officer on duty roughed up in Maharashtra

Friday, January 28, 2011

SATARA - Just days after Nashik additional district collector Yeshwant Sonawane was burnt alive by the oil mafia, another state officer was roughed up when he caught a person stealing electricity in a Satara district village, an official said.

Prashant Gade, sub-divisional officer of Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB), was stopped, pushed around and roughed up Thursday night when he tried to prevent a person from stealing electricty and book him for the offence, a power utility official said here.

Sensing the ugly mood of the crowd that gathered soon, Gade, 45, made a quiet retreat from the area.

The incident took place in Sartale village in Javali sub-district, said Satara MSEB superintending engineer Gorakhnath Chavan.

“When I learnt of the incident, we decided to take it up seriously and send an appropriate public message,” Chavan told IANS.

On Friday morning, over a 100 MSEB field engineers descended on Sartale and adjoining Bhisewasti villages and started a combing operation to detect cases of power theft, he said.

Two people have been held so far and one of them has been identified as Dilip Tukaram Bhise, who has a criminal background, Chavan said.

Officials revealed that nearly 20 percent of MSEB losses accrue due to rampant thefts of power, both by industrial consumers and domestic users, with the support of local mafia who enjoy political patronage.

However, the MSEB’s efforts to bring down power thefts have borne fruit - from 35 percent in 2005, it has now come to around 20 percent, the official said.

Sonawane was burnt to death in broad daylight by a gang of petrol robbers when he raided their warehouse near Manmad Tuesday afternoon.

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