Maharashtra shocker: Addl Collector burnt alive

Additional District Collector of Nashik, Yashwant Sonavane was burnt alive by the oil mafia.

Updated: Jan 26, 2011, 09:49 AM IST

Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: In a shocking incident, Additional District Collector of Nashik, Yashwant Sonawane, was burnt alive on Tuesday for cracking down on the oil mafia operating in the vicinity of Panewadi oil depot near Manmad town, 75 kilometres from the district headquarters.

As per reports, at around 11.30 am, Sonawane, who was going on an official tour, reportedly saw some suspicious activity going on in the vicinity of the oil depot – the area is infamous as a hub for oil adulteration.

He got down from his car to further probe the matter but was cornered by members of the mafia who, reportedly, beat him up, and then set him on fire in broad daylight. His body is still lying at the spot.

At the time of the incident, he was said to be accompanied only by his personal assistant and without any police cover.

Some reports claimed that he was raiding the area as per plan and that information was leaked to the mafia about his movement leading to the tragic incident.

The attackers fled after the incident. Police have launched a massive manhunt to track and arrest the attackers. There are also reports that one of the attackers has been arrested but there is no official confirmation at the moment.

Sonawane was known as an upright officer who had been carrying out a crusade against the oil mafia operating in the district.

In Mumbai, state Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has ordered an inquiry into the incident and has assured that that strictest possible action would be taken against the offenders.

"The government would not tolerate attacks on the officials and strict action would be taken against those responsible for burning Sonawane. I have ordered an inquiry in the matter," Chavan said.

Meanwhlie, four persons, including the suspected main culprit and his son, were arrested for burning to death Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane at Manmad in Nashik district, police said.

Popat Shinde, his son Kunal, brother-in-law Sitaram Balerao and their aide Raju Shirsat were arrested for killing Sonawane, Additional Director General (Law & Order) KP Raghuvanshi told reporters here.

Maharashtra state gazetted officers association has announced that they will strike work on January 27 to protest against the incident. They have also demanded that they be given adequate security so as to help them discharge their duties effectively.