Sonawane murder 'witness': Did not see killers

Yashwant Sonawane's personal assistant said on Wednesday that his boss had recorded the pilfering of kerosene on his mobile phone, leading to his murder.
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Updated on Jan 27, 2011 01:05 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | ByHTC and PTI, Nasik

Yashwant Sonawane's personal assistant said on Wednesday that his boss had recorded the pilfering of kerosene on his mobile phone, leading to his murder.

Raju Kale, an eyewitness to the attack on 42-year-old Sonawane at Panewadi town in Manmad in Nasik district, about 260 km from Mumbai, also said the official was attacked by some seven-eight men who came on motorcycles.

On Wednesday, Sonawane's family demanded a CBI probe into the incident and alleged that his fellow officials, including his personal assistant, were involved his death.

"The government should set up a CBI inquiry into the incident. There is also a case for looking into the behaviour and phone records of the Tehsildar of Nandgaon and Sonwane's driver and personal assistant," the slain ADC's brother-in-law Anand Dani said.


S MANJUNATH, 28, a marketing manager for the Indian Oil Corporation, who was murdered for sealing a corrupt petrol station in UP in Nov 2005. The IIM graduated was shot dead when he was inspecting two petrol pumps in UP that he had sealed for selling adulterated fuel.

SATYENDRA DUBEY, 31, was a project director with the NHAI. The IIT graduate was murdered in Gaya, Bihar in Nov 2003, for exposing corruption in the golden quadrilateral highway project. Dubey had found that the contracted firm had been subcontracting work to smaller groups using poor technology.

The behaviour of the two, who were with Sonawane when he was attacked, has raised suspicion against them. Both Kale and Sonawane's official driver Kailash Gawali managed to flee from the scene of the crime.

However, Kale insists he was on his phone when the attack happened. Asked whether he recognised the attackers, Kale said, "I was talking on the phone when the incident happened. Their backs were towards me."

Recalling the sequence of events, he said, on the way to Manmad from Nasik, Sonawane asked his driver to stop where a kerosene tanker was halted.

"Then he asked the driver to go near the tanker from behind. Then we all got down from the car. Then, he(Sonawane) saw the driver (of tanker) taking out kerosene in two boxes and putting it in another truck." Kale said the official was waiting for some force to arrive when he was attacked.

"He(Sonawane) stood under a tree and was talking to somebody on the phone. Then I called our ASI in Manmad but I couldn't get through to him and so I kept trying," he said.

Kale said that in the meantime there were was no movement on the other side. "Then two people came on a motorcycle. These two people asked if Sonawane has come. Then (our) driver saw something amiss under the tree and came running towards me. He said the men were coming towards us with a drum of kerosene," he added. "I started running and those guys started running behind us with kerosene. We ran to our car and drove to find help," he said.

The Manmad police has presented the seven accused before a court in Manmad. The arrested include Popat Dattu Shinde, Raju Shirsat, Kacharu Surode, Vikas Shinde, Sitaram Bhosale, Dipak Borase and Tausif Shaikh Altaf Shaikh. Another suspect Kunal Shinde is absconding, police said.

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