3 get death for rape-murder of 15-year-old in Maharashtra

3 get death for rape-murder of 15-year-old in Maharashtra

3 get death for rape-murder of 15-year-old in Maharashtra

After 16 months of the infamous Kopardi rape case, which brought to the forefront the underlying caste tensions in the state, a special court in Maharashtra's Ahmednagar district on Wednesday (November 29) pronounced the death sentences for the three accused. 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. After this huge brutal crime, the massive protest had erupted across the state by the Maratha community. The crime took place on July 13, 2016, when the 15-year-old, a class 9 student was out to fetch spices from her grandmother's home in the same village, was gang-raped, mutilated and killed. On October 7, the Ahmednagar police had filed the charge sheet running into over 350 pages before the court.

They also thanked special public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam, Maratha community and other sections of society for helping them get justice for their daughter. The girl was a Maratha while the convicts are dalits.

The court presided by judge SK Keole delivered the judgment in just 10 minutes, said media reports.

The other two accused, Santosh Bhaval, 36, and Nitin Bhailume, 26, had been held guilty of molestation, criminal conspiracy and murder. Also, this incident has created strong political controversy by the opposition parties like Congress and the NCP who are demanding the resignation of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. 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 prosecutor said that the three convicts were also given life imprisonment for charges pertaining to rape and criminal conspiracy and they were also fined Rs 20,000 each. Nikam added that the case was very challenging for the prosecution as there was no eye-witness. The three convicts showed no reaction and stood motionless with their heads down.

The death sentence is subject to confirmation by the Bombay high court.

A special court will pronounce its verdict on the culprits of Maharashtra's famous Kopardi rape and murder. He said the case had shaken the whole of Maharashtra and that is why state Government engaged Advocate Ujjwal Nikam for fighting the case and he ensured the guilty are punished.

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