Kopardi rape and murder case: 3 convicts get death sentence
30 November, 2017, 12:46 | Author: Dustin Murphy
A Special Court here on Wednesday awarded the death sentence to all three accused in the rape and brutal murder of a 14-year-old schoolgirl in Kopardi village in Maharashtra'sAhmednagar district in July 2016. The security was tightened around the court when the judge announced the quantum of sentence, calling the sensitivities of the communities of the victim and the convicts, and the violence that the caste divide triggered last week.
The incident took place on 13 July, 2016 when the 15-year-old girl was returning home after meeting her grandfather.
October 7 a year ago, the Ahmednagar Police filed the charge sheet running into over 350 pages before the court, in which the trio was charged under IPC sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and relevant sections of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act. The order put an end to the 15-month long silent vigil by the Maratha community, whose members were present in large numbers both inside and outside the court.
The state government had appointed noted criminal lawyer Ujjwal Nikam as the special public prosecutor in the case followng widespread protests throughout Maharashtra following the gruesome murder. Soon after the court read out the sentence, all of them welcomed the verdict. On the day of the incident, all the accused were moving on their motorcycles and keeping a watch on the girl's movements, Nikam had said. The prosecution closed the case from its side by presenting 31 witnesses before the court, he said.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis said the punishment would send a strong message to "all those elements in the society who think up such heinous crimes against women". "When they failed in their attempts to rape her, they hatched a plan for later, which amounts to conspiracy", he said.
A sessions court in Ahmednagar awarded the death penalty to Jitendra Shinde, Nitin Bhailume and Santosh Bhaval. The death sentences are subject to confirmation by the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay high court, the judge said. The sentences are to run concurrently. Since he failed to pay the fine, the court Wednesday ordered the district administration to recover it from him.
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