Mumbai: Seven people have been arrested in Maharashtra for burning alive Malegaon Additional District Collector Yashwant Sonawane. All the seven accused will be produced in a Manmad holiday court later on Wednesday while three are still absconding.
Yashwant Sonawane died on Tuesday after being set on fire by a petrol mafia gang in Nasik.
En route to a meeting, accompanied by an assistant and driver, Sonawane's suspicions were roused when he saw parked tankers and drums of oil at a local dhaba.
When he began asking uncomfortable questions, the offenders set him on fire.
To protest against the gruesome killing, Maharashtra government employees have decided to go on strike on January 27. All officers will report to work on Thursday, mark attendance and will then demonstrate against attack on Sonawane and demand for stringent action and adequate protection. Demonstrations will take place across state at various local offices.
The nation was still reeling as the funeral of the officer burnt alive by the petrol mafia took place on Tuesday.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said the guilty will not be spared.
The main accused Popat Shinde who has received serious injuries will be shifted to the JJ Hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday. Shinde, one of the main accused, himself suffered 60 per cent burn injuries.
Shinde has several cases of diesel smuggling registered against him, and is infamous for running a smuggling cartel from a dhaba. His son, Kunal Shinde and two others have been arrested as well. All seven have been charged with murder and rioting.
Milind Bhrambe, SP, Nasik said, "From records it appears that he was a habitual offender."
The state government announced a Rs 25 lakh compensation for Sonawane's family, and promised to pay his salary till what would've been his retirement.
Revenue Minister Balasaheb Thorat said, "Despite having records, how can this happen. We need to investigate this."
Sonawane's murder has close parallels to the killing of Manjunath Shanmugham killed in 2005, by the Petrol mafia. The big question now - will his martyrdom on Republic Day eve change anything at all?