Karnataka woman minister claims threat by cooking gas mafia

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

BANGALORE - Karnataka’s lone woman minister Shobha Karandlaje Wednesday claimed she had received a call that she will “meet the same fate as Yashwant Sonawane” for trying to streamline the supply of cooking gas to the city’s consumers.

Karandlaje, who holds the power and food and civil supplies portfolios, told reporters here: “I have received a call a few days back threatening that I will meet the same fate as Yashwant Sonawane following the drive.”

Nashik district additional collector Yashwant Sonawane, 44, was set on fire by the oil mafia near Manmad area of the district Jan 25 when he tried to take photographs of kerosene being stolen from an oil tanker.

Karandlaje said the man on the line told her that liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) suppliers would incur huge loss because of her drive.

When she called back on the number, it went to a public call office (PCO). Most of the PCOs in the city are privately managed.

“I am not scared by such threats and will register a case after discussing the issue with Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa,” she said.

The food and civil supplies department has made it mandatory for all LPG connection holders in Bangalore to submit ration cards along with the latest electricity bill and the consumer number of the gas connection to their respective agencies or to the department. Those without ration cards can submit their consumer number and the latest power bill latest by Feb 9.

Karandlaje said she decided on this measure to ascertain the exact number of LPG connection holders.

“There is a thriving racket in LPG cylinder supplies and this step is to curb it,” she said last week when announcing the drive.

The minister said the government was losing anywhere between Rs.100-150 crore as a large number of LPG cylinders meant for domestic consumption are diverted for commercial use.

Karandlaje’s disclosure of the threatening call comes two days after Yeddyurappa claimed his political opponents were indulging in ‘black magic’ to eliminate him.

Karandlaje is known to be Yeddyurappa’s confidante and her alleged interference in other ministries’ functioning was cited as one of the reasons for the rebellion by mining magnates ministers, the Reddy brothers, in October-November 2009.

Yeddyurappa was forced to drop her to buy peace with Tourism Minister G. Janardhana Reddy and his elder brother and Revenue Minister G. Karunakara Reddy.

She was brought back to the ministry in September last year.

Filed under: Accidents and Disasters

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