'Sonawane recorded pilfering of kerosene on mobile'

The aide of Yashwant Sonawane, who was burnt alive yesterday, said that his boss had recorded the pilfering of kerosene on his mobile phone leading to his killing by suspected members of a local oil mafia.
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Updated on Jan 26, 2011 08:45 PM IST
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PTI | By, Nashik

The aide of an additional district collector burnt alive said on Wednesday that his boss had recorded on his mobile phone the pilfering of kerosene which was detected by him leading to his killing by suspected members of a local oil mafia.

Raju Kale, an eyewitness to Tuesday's gruesome attack on 42-year-old Yashwant Sonawane at Panewadi town in Manmad in Nashik district, about 260 km from Mumbai, also said the official was attacked by some men who came on motorcycles. There were seven to eight men at the scene of the attack, he said.

Kale said he and Sonawane saw the driver of a fuel tanker taking out kerosene in two box shaped containers and transferring it to another truck. Kale is Sonawane's personal assistant.

"Sir captured the entire thing on his mobile," he said.

Both Kale and the Malegaon's additional district collectors' official driver Kailash Gawali managed to flee from the scene of the crime in Nashik district

The state bureaucrat was burnt alive in broad daylight at a roadside eatout by suspected members of local oil mafia while detecting pilfering of kerosene oil from a tanker.

Kale said the phone is in the possession of the police department.

Asked whether he recognised the people who attacked Sonawane, Kale said "I was talking on the phone when the incident happened. Their backs were towards me."

Recalling the sequence of events, Kale said they were on the way to Manmad from Nashik when Sonawane asked his driver to stop where a kerosene tanker was in a stationary position.

"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 they were putting it in another truck," Kale said.

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 and suspected something had gone amiss.

"Then two people came on a motorcycle. These two people asked if Yashwant Sonawane has come. Then (our) driver saw something amiss under the tree and he came running towards me to tell me. Then he said the men were coming towards us with a drum of kerosene," he added.

"The I started running and those guys started running behind us with kerosene. We ran to our car and drove to find help," he said

Kale said he can recognise the face of the driver of the tanker and its cleaner but not the people who came on the motorcycles.

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