3 accused in Kopardi rape case get death

3 accused in Kopardi rape case get death

A Special Court on Wednesday awarded death sentence to three men convicted in the rape and brutal murder of a 15-year-old schoolgirl in Kopardi village in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district in 2016.

Sessions court judge Suvarna Kevale did not waste much time in pronouncing the death sentence for the three convicts Jitendra Shinde (25), Santosh Bhaval (36) and Nitin Bhailume (26), who were present in court.

She listed the prime charges under the POCSO Act and the IPC for which Shinde, Bhawal and Bhailume were found guilty on November 18 - conspiracy, rape and murder, as listed against them by the prosecution. It also spurred the Maratha community to launch "mook morchas" (silent marches) demanding stringent action against the accused besides seeking an amendment to the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act to curb its misuse.

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The incident took place on July 13, 2016, when a 15-year-old school girl belonging to Maratha community was brutually gang-raped, mutiliated and killed. The accused had also inflicted injuries all over her body and broke her limbs before throttling her, the police said. On October 7, the Ahmednagar police had filed the charge sheet running into over 350 pages before the court. Following the protests, the state government appointed noted criminal lawyer Nikam, who has appeared in several high-profile cases including the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, as the special public prosecutor in the case. Breaking down after hearing the sentence, she said, "I am satisfied with the verdict".

Chief Minister Fadnavis, welcoming the verdict, said, "No one ever would dare to commit such a crime in this state anymore after this verdict". However, when she resisted, two of the accused said that they would "see her later". Reportedly, none of the defense lawyers were there, while special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam was present in the court. Protestors across the state demanding punishment for all three convicts.

On Saturday, three accused of this case have been convicted.

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The duo was also handed out life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 20,000 each, under Section 120, read with sections 376 (2)(i)(m) and 109 of the IPC and three years' RI under sections 109 and 354 A (1) of the IPC.

The death sentence is subject to confirmation by the Bombay high court. These sentences are to run concurrently with the substantive sentence.

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