Kopardi rape and murder case: Ahmednagar court convicts three accused
District and Sessions court judge Suvarna Kevale found “concrete evidence” against the three accused; Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G Bhaval and Nitin G Bhailume; and convicted them on charges of rape, murder and conspiracy.pune Updated: Nov 20, 2017 16:34 IST
The three accused in the rape and murder case of a 14-year-old girl from Kopardi were pronounced guilty on Saturday by Sessions court in Ahmednagar. The court is likely pronounce the quantum of sentence on November 22.
District and Sessions court judge Suvarna Kevale found “concrete evidence” against the three accused; Jitendra Shinde, Santosh G Bhaval and Nitin G Bhailume; and convicted them on charges of rape, murder and conspiracy.
On July 13, 2016, a minor belonging to the Maratha community from Kopardi village in Ahmednagar district was raped and murdered by the three, triggering massive protests across the state.
The victim was returning home in the evening from the grandfather’s house when the trio grabbed her at an isolated location and committed the crime, according to the 350-page chargesheet in the case.
While the protest later fizzled out due to the overriding ambitions of the organisers, the Kopardi victim and her family got justice within 16 months through a fast-track hearing of the case.
The protest galvanised Marathas against dalits as the convicts were from the dalit community. While the agitation was largely peaceful, incidents of violence were reported from Nashik where dalits came under attack.
The protest forced the government to appoint Ujjwal Nikam as the special public prosecutor and fast track the case. According to prosecution, there were a total of 24 circumstantial evidences produced before the court during the course of trial.
“We thank the public prosecutor, the chief minister and the entire Maratha community for their efforts in bringing the accused to books. We expect the convicts to be awarded with the capital punishment,” said the victim’s mother after hearing the court verdict.
According to Nikam, the entire case was based on circumstantial evidence as there were no eye-witnesses available. “The forensic tests proved that blood stains of victims were found on the clothes of the convict. The court also accepted this and held the three accused guilty,” said Nikam.
July 13, 2016: A 14-year-old girl belonging to Maratha community was allegedly raped and murdered by three suspects
July 15, 2016: Police arrested the first accused. Two days later, other two accused were also arrested
October 7, 2016: Prosecution files the charge sheet
October 17, 2016: Charges were framed
May 24, 2017: Prosecution close evidence by examining 31 witnesses
November 18, 2018: Sessions court in Ahmednagar held the three accused guilty of raping and murdering the victim.
First Published: Nov 18, 2017 17:20 IST