Kopardi Rape Case: 16 Months After Rape & Murder Of 15-Yr-Old, The Three Convicts Get Death Sentence
A 16-month long wait has come to an end with the brutal rape-murder of a minor girl in Ahmednagar’s remote Kopardi village resulting in death penalty.
The special court on Wednesday pronounced death sentences for the three accused of the crime. Jitendra Shinde (25), Santosh Bhaval (36) and Nitin Bhailume (26).
Special public prosecutor Advocate Nikam picked upon more than 13 valid points that made the accused to deserve capital punishment. The trio hatched a criminal conspiracy to rape and murder the victim in 2016 between July 11 and 13. When she was returning home after meeting her grandfather on the evening of July 13, Jiten accosted her. Later, the other two joined and brutally raped the victim before killing her.
The victim’s cousin acted as the main witness to the case since he saw Jiten walking away with his sister’s body. All the three accused were taken into custody by 17 July 2016.
The case soon got involved with caste connotations. While the girl belonged to the upper caste Maratha family, the three convicts belong to Mahar caste, a Dalit community. This time Maharashtra had witnessed massive agitations and Kranti Morcha (a silent march) demanding justice.
Many rallies were triggered and various demands were demanded. Nearly three months after the crime, under sections 302 and 376 (a) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a 350-page charge sheet was filed by the prosecution in the Ahmednagar district and sessions court.
During an 11-month trial after examining 31 witnesses, on November 18, the special judge declared the accused guilty of raping and murdering the minor.
The Ahmednagar district and sessions court awarded death sentence to the accused on November 29 at 11:25 am, irrespective of the pleadings by the counsels for the accused to mitigate the sentence. All the three convicts can appeal against the judgement in the Bombay High Court.
The brutality of the incident is a reminder of the 2012 Nirbhaya rape case. The victim (15-year-old girl) was found with bite marks all over the body (including genitals), all her hair pulled out, teeth broken and dislocated limbs near the field.
The medical reports suggest that the accused forced themselves on the victim in a violent and gruesome way. Soon after special judge Suvarna Keole delivered the announcement, the victim’s father poured his heart out and stated that he knew that justice would be served.