Man serving death sentence in Kopardi rape-murder case found hanging in Pune jail
Jitendra alias Pappu Babulal Shinde was found hanging at cell room number 14 of the Yerawada Central Prison on Sunday morning
One of the convicts serving death sentence in a 2016 case of rape and murder of a minor girl at Kopardi in Maharashtra was found hanging at cell room number 14 of the Yerawada Central Prison on Sunday morning, officials said.
The police after initial probe said that the inmate Jitendra alias Pappu Babulal Shinde (32) died by suicide.
The Bombay High Court had started hearing the case related to Shinde and his two accomplices Santosh Gorakh Bhawal and Nitin Gopinath Bhailume on Friday.
Swati Sathe, deputy inspector general (DIG), prisons, western region, said, “A guard found Shinde hanging in his cell at around 5.58 am on Sunday. It appears he used towel strips to hang himself from an iron bar above the door of his cell. The prisoner was taken for a medical examination where he was declared dead at around 6:13 am. After the panchanama, the body was sent to Sassoon General Hospital for autopsy.”
The senior police official said that Shinde, who had approached the high court seeking permission to pursue studies from jail in 2019, was undergoing psychiatric treatment at the prison.
“Initial probe suggests that he may have taken the extreme steps due to depression,” said Sathe.
According to the police, a sessions court in Ahmednagar district in 2017 sentenced Shinde, Bhawal and Bhailume to death for the rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl in Kopardi village of the district in 2016. The victim, who belonged to the Maratha community, was found murdered after being raped on July 13, 2016 in Kopardi village. The girl was returning home after meeting her grandfather when Shinde assaulted and raped her. He called two accomplices and later dragged the minor to an isolated spot and murdered her.
The accused had inflicted injuries all over her body and broken her limbs before throttling her, police said. The incident had triggered widespread protests from the Maratha community.
The then chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who headed the home department, had sent the case to a fast-track court and the state government announced ₹5 lakh financial help to the victim’s family
The state had appointed Ujjwal Nikam as the public prosecutor for the case.
On October 7, 2016, the Ahmednagar police filed a 350-page chargesheet before the court charging the trio under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 376 (rape) and relevant sections of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (Pocso).
In 2019, Shinde and Bhailume had approached the Bombay High Court and expressed desire to pursue study at open universities.