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Three accused get lifer for the murder of Additional Collector Sonawane

By IndianMandarins- 08 Sep 2022
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New Delhi (08.09.2022): The Additional Sessions Judge, Malegaon (Maharashtra) on Thursday sentenced Rajendra alias Raju Devidas Shirsath, Macchindra Piraji Suradkar alias Kachru and Ajay Magan Sonawane to life imprisonment in a case related to the murder of Yashwant Sonawane, the then Additional Collector, Malegaon.
What was the case? 
In a shocking incident that sent shockwaves across Maharashtra, an Additional Collector of Nashik district Yashwant Sonawane was burnt alive with kerosene by the oil mafia in Manmad, Nashik on January 25, 2011. 
Sonawane had caught the oil mafia pilfering fuel from a tanker and was building a case against a person named Popat Shinde who was involved with the oil mafia for over 30 years.
CBI registered the case in April 2011
The CBI had registered a case on April 8, 2011, on the request of the Maharashtra Government and further notification from the Government of India and took over the investigation of the case earlier registered at Police Station Manmad, District Nashik (Maharashtra) against 12 accused. 
The allegations
It was alleged that Popat Dattu Shinde was running a Dhaba at Jondhalwadi Shivalaya, Taluka Nandgaon, District Nashik on Manmad-Nandgaon Road. The said Dhaba served as a local point for pilferage, storage and illegal sale of petroleum products. Here oil tankers clandestinely offloaded part of petroleum products, meant for the Public Distribution System and the oil was stored in cans/barrels etc to be sold later. 
Total recall
It was further alleged that Yashwant Sonawane was on his way to Nandgaon via Manmad along with his steno-cum-PA and driver. In the Jondhalwadi area, Sonawane detected the clandestine pilferage and storage of petroleum products at Shinde's Dhaba. Upon detecting the illegal activity Sonawane called the Supply Inspector to prepare a panchnama. In the meantime, the said accused arrived at the spot and along with other co-accused ruthlessly slapped and beat up Sonawane with iron rods. They then poured kerosene on Sonawane and burnt him alive killing him on the spot. 
While setting Sonawane on fire, Popat Dattu Shinde too suffered burn injuries and succumbed to injuries on November 30, 2011.
The accused
After investigation, a chargesheet was filed on November 10, 2011, before the Additional Sessions Judge, Malegaon, District Nashik against Rajendra alias Raju Devidas Shirsath, Macchindra Piraji Suradkar allies Kachru and Ajay Magan Sonawane. As one accused was a minor at the time of the incident, his matter was separately filed before Juvenile Justice Board, Nashik.
 The Trial Court found the said three accused guilty and convicted them.

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