The Nashik rural police are trying to reconstruct what happened outside Sagar Dhaba at Panewadi village in Manmad where additional collector Yashwant Sonawane was burnt alive on Tuesday.
Police sources told HT what they think happened on the basis of witness accounts.
The police said Sonawane was going from Nandgaon to the tehsil office at Nashik. His driver, Kailash Sukhdeo Gawli, was at the wheel of his white Indigo. Sonawane's personal assistant, Rajendra Kale, was also in the car.
At around 1.30pm, the vehicle stopped at Sagar Dhaba, located on the outskirts of Jondhalewadi village, when Sonawane saw someone transferring a kerosene-like product from an oil tanker into the fuel tank of a truck.
He started recording this on his mobile phone. He also asked Kale to make a call.
One of the arrested accused, Raju Shirsat alias Ravindra Devnath Shirshat, who works at the eatery, called someone using his mobile phone. Popat
Shinde, the prime accused, and his 17-year-old son, Kunal, arrived at the dhaba on a motorcycle.
Sonawane was still recording when Popat and Kunal, and four other men, started abusing and assaulting him. Kunal pulled out an iron rod and hit Sonawane on the back of his head. On Popat's instructions, Raju and Machindra Suradkar, both arrested, brought a 20-litre kerosene can. Popat poured the kerosene on Sonawane and lit a match.
The accused doused Gawli and Kale with kerosene but they managed to escape and reach the tehsil office at Nandgaon, 20km from the spot.
They reported the matter to the police and the tehsildar. Gawli identified some of the accused. He told the police he had seen them at the additional collector's office at Malegaon some time ago when they were visiting the office in connection with some cases registered against them.