The Ahmednagar police on Friday filed a 300-page charge sheet against three accused in Kopardi rape and murder.
A 15-year-old girl was raped and murdered on July 15 in Kopardi in Karjat tehsil of Ahmednagar district, sparking outrage across the state. The three accused -- Jiendra Babulal Shinde, 25, Nitin Gopinath Bhailume, 28, and Santosh Gorakhnath Bhaval, 30, all residents of Kopardi -- were arrested two days after the incident.
In the charge sheet, the accused have been charged under sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of Indian Penal Code and two sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POSCO). The document names 70 witnesses.
Sources in the Ahmednagar police said the charge sheet has been filed within the mandatory 90-day deadline with utmost precaution, so the accused get maximum punishment.
Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced in the Assembly the trial would be conducted in a fast-track court and the government would seek death penalty for the accused. The government has appointed Ujwal Nikam as public prosecutor.
According to the police, the accused inflicted injuries all over the girl’s body, hacked her limbs and abandoned the body near her home. While they escaped, their motorcycle provided a vital clue, leading to their arrests.
While the girl belonged to the dominant Maratha community, the accused were Dalits. Fearing retaliation by Marathas, police protection was provided to Dalit houses in Kopardi and Dalit leaders were not allowed to enter Kopardi.
Days after the incident, the Maratha community held a massive march in Marathwada, which later spread all over Maharashtra. Apart from reservation, the community demanded capital punishment to the accused in the Kopardi case and abolition of Atrocity Act.