Kopardi Rape-Murder Case: Court awards death sentence to all three convicts

On 13 July 2016, the 15-year-old Maratha girl was raped and killed by Shinde and his accomplices-all three of whom are Dalits-in Kopardi village of Ahmednagar district. The three were convicted of rape, murder and criminal conspiracy November 18.

The incident also turned out to be the trigger for the silent marches (mook morcha) taken out by Marathas who wanted justice for the victim. The accused had also inflicted injuries all over her body and broke her limbs before throttling her, the police said.

October 7 previous year, 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.

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Barring those directly concerned with the Kopardi case - special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam and his team of lawyers, the police brass including the case investigators, the family members of the victim and the court staffers - nobody else was permitted entry.

The court presided by judge SK Keole delivered the judgment in just 10 minutes, said media reports. "When they failed in their attempts to rape her, they hatched a plan for later, which amounts to conspiracy", he said. Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and other political leaders have hailed the court verdict. "Two days before the incident, the victim was molested by the accused". The three convicts were brought to the Ahmednagar district and sessions court in heavy security around 9.30am.

► Life imprisonment and Rs 20,000 fine for sections 120B and 376 (i)(m) of IPC. This is the first case in the state in which the accused have been given the death penalty. "It is the government's responsibility to ensure that higher courts uphold the death punishment of the accused", he said, adding that the government should fast track other cases of atrocities against women. However, special public prosecutor, Ujjwal Nikam argued that this was a "rarest of the rare case" and hence the three convicts should be awarded the death sentence. All jail sentences would run concurrently.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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