Let us now praise honest men

An organized gang of thieves who were stealing government-subsidized kerosene meant for the poor allegedly burnt to death a high-ranking civil servant in the small town of Malegaon, about 150 miles from Mumbai, according to Indian newspaper reports.

Additional district collector Yashwant Sonavane, 42, spotted someone removing fuel from a government tanker behind a local restaurant and immediately called the supply inspector to investigate, the Mail Today said. While he was waiting, some men came on motorcycles and beat him, and then four persons, including Popat Shinde, the owner of the restaurant, poured kerosene over Sonavane and set him on fire, the paper reported. Shinde has been admitted to a local hospital with serious burn injuries.

Notably, this is not the first time that a government servant who sought to stop corruption has been murdered. And given the law's apparent impotence in similar cases, it will surely not be the last.

IN 2005, National Highways Authority project director Satyendra Dubey was shot and killed in Bihar after he wrote to the prime minister detailing corruption in NHAI projects. At first, his case was dismissed as a robbery gone wrong. Later, one suspect disappeared and two others died of poisoning within hours of being questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation. Finally, six years after the murder, five perpetrators were convicted of the crime.

Similarly, in 2005 a marketing manager with state-owned Indian Oil Corporation was shot and killed for cracking down on gas stations that were adulterating fuel. His killers were found guilty six months after the crime, but their case is currently under appeal.