Sonawane, Additional District Collector of Malegaon, was set ablaze near Manmad on Jan 25 when he, during a raid, tried to stop a group of people, said to be members of the oil mafia, from adulterating kerosene. The case was initially handled by Maharashtra Police and later handed over to the CBI, which filed the charge sheet in the Judicial Magistrate's Court at Manmad against Rajendra Shirsat, Machhindra Suradkar, Ajay Sonawane, Habbani Khan Rabbani, Imran Khan and Kaushik Altaf Shaikh.
The main accused, Popat Shinde, who too had suffered burn injures in the incident, later died in a Mumbai hospital. His minor son, also a suspect, has been sent to a remand home. Two other accused are absconding. Those chargesheeted, currently out on bail, were booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and IPC sections related to murder, criminal conspiracy and others.
The area where Sonawane was brutally killed houses depots of state-run oil majors IOC, HPCL and BPCL, and was infamous for smuggling and adulteration of petrol, diesel and kerosene.